SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – No one really knows if Vickie Smock reached her destination.
In 1985, she was supposed to board a bus with an unknown man and travel to West Wendover Nevada. Smock told her family she was going to work at the Peppermill Casino.
But she was never heard from again.
“I think she got involved with the wrong man, maybe possible with this man she was with,” said her daughter Cetiva Slaughter. “(But) I don’t know.”
According to Slaughter, her grandfather drove Smock to the bus station. He gave her $50. An unknown man was with her at the bus station.
“My grandfather had dropped her off with an unknown man,” Slaughter said. “We don’t even even know of a physical description to even tell you who it was.”
Smock and this mystery man left together. Or did they? No one actually saw them board the bus.
The family got little cooperation from the casinos. So, they never really knew if Smock ever arrived, or if she was even hired.
Her two daughters were raised by their dad, Smock’s ex-husband. But she remained part of the girls’ lives.
“She was a sweet person deep in her heart,” said Craig Mismash, the former husband. “She just trusted everybody. I think she just got a hold of the wrong people.”
The Utah Cold Case Coalition is looking into Smock’s disappearance.
“Here we have a clear pattern of this young lady, always made it to every holiday event, birthday, and then all of a sudden, she just stopped,” said co-founder Jason Jensen.
He learned who this mystery man might be based on his conversations with family members.
Smock’s second husband, who is now dead, may be involved. He was considered violent, threatening, and jealous.
“I think he would be the one who would do it to,” said Mismash. “I think he went out there, probably got her, and took her out somewhere and killed her.”
But according to Smock’s police file, the man was never questioned by Salt Lake City detectives.
In the same file, detectives tracked an Arizona woman who was using a Smock alias. Smock actually lived in Arizona for a brief time prior to her disappearance. The woman used a Smock alias “Vickie Davis.” The woman had the same birth date, was born in the same state, and had physical features that were identical to Smock.
But after investigating, Salt Lake police concluded it wasn’t her.
“Sadly, this is one of those cases where where the missing person isn’t, because she decided to disappear,” said Jensen. “But we believe this is probably a no body homicide.”
The case received little attention at the outset. It was considered a missing person’s case. It wasn’t until years later that Slaughter convinced detectives to re-open the case. It was the new set of eyes that tracked the Arizona woman. After realizing it wasn’t her, the detecives gathered Slaughter’s DNA and kept it on file. They also had Smock’s case added to NAMUS, a national data base for missing persons.
“Being without my mom has been hard,” said Slaughter. “But what I really just want is closure. I want closure. I want to know what happened to her.”
Deep in her heart, she knows her mother is dead. But she holds out hope that someone, some day will come forward with information about her mother.