ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) — It’s been two years since Tracey Bratt-Smith’s tall blue-eyed boy vanished without a trace from St. George. Why the mom of the then 17-year-old Macin Smith isn’t giving up and how she gets through every day not knowing what has happened to her son.
Bratt-Smith says all the unknown has made the last two years feel like just a few months but the pain of missing her son is unlike anything she has experienced before.
“We are all still hurting. We all want to find answers. We all want a positive outcome,” Bratt-Smith said. “Macin left a huge hole in our lives. We continue to try and maintain and function without our missing piece. Some days, we do okay. Others, we sink into a deep feeling of hopelessness with the realization, this could be the new normal.”
Macin’s mom says their story is as unique as all the other missing children’s stories out there but their journey will be their own and the resolution is still unknown.
“We were not a perfect family, but we were a loving one. We were not an affluent family, but our kids wanted for nothing in the material sense,” Bratt-Smith explained. “We tried to have a balance between privileges and parameters.”
Macin left home the morning of September 1, 2015 at the age of 17. Both Tracey Bratt-Smith and her husband Darrin thought he was on his way to school but later found out he never even made it to school and had left his cell phone, wallet and computer at home, taking nothing with him.
Tracey and her husband found a note a week later inside his wallet. While they have not shared the contents of the note, they have indicated it has lead them to believe he might have intended to harm himself.
“I think he was a sensitive kid who felt broken. He felt alone in his internal battle. I think he felt like his life wasn’t ever going to get better but perhaps, only worse,” Bratt-Smith said. “I want to emphasize that Macin was/is a good kid. Flawed like us all but I would say as a whole, a good kid. Never did drugs, smoked or drank alcohol. Went to church regularly. Tried to make other kids laugh and feel at ease. He sang. He played ball. He baked. He loved his siblings. Loved animals.”
The journey to find Macin has come with a massive flood of emotions and unimaginable trials but it has also come with it’s share of blessings too, Bratt-Smith says.
“The good that’s come to us over the last two years would probably be too overwhelming to list. However, I can say, that despite the trial, there is much to be grateful for.” Bratt-Smith said. “We have been truly humbled by the services rendered, the volunteer hours on Macin’s behalf have been in the thousands, monetary gifts for the reward and all the rescue efforts.”
The family has found many friendships along the way and have discovered opportunities for them to serve others in a very specialized way.
“Increased knowledge of this difficult topic of teenagers suffering from depression, even suicidal tendencies has become a passion of mine. Elevate our kids. Find opportunities to uplift and edify our teens. They need love and guidance. They are so lost and need a light at the end of these dark, dark tunnels,” Bratt-Smth said. “Hard lessons on protocol and what to do when a loved one goes missing. We’ve learned who are most beloved friends and family are.”
The Help Find Macin Smith Facebook page has 51,652 members who call themselves “Macin’s Army”. Through this page, and through the efforts of several groups, organizers, friends, family and even total strangers, hundreds of people have searched over the last two years for the handsomely shy teen who would now be 19.
Macin’s picture seems to be becoming a familiar sight to many people as the search for him continues and more and more people become aware of his story and he was recently featured Investigation Discovery’s “Disappeared”.
Bratt-Smith says they have learned to have increased empathy and compassion for those enduring tremendous trials. They have constant battles in their heads between the potential of what could have happened to him.
“If Macin is watching this all play out from afar, then I hope someday sooner than later, he can contact us and let us know he’s okay,” says Bratt-Smith. “If he’s in a position where he cannot contact us, I want him to know we will NEVER give up. We will continue to fight to find him no matter what the situation. He is loved beyond any word or expression I could possibly dictate.”
The mysterious disappearance of her son take an even bigger toll on her heart when ever a body is found near Southern Utah.
On August 19, hikers found a severely decomposed body, believed to be male, not far from St. George in the Red Cliffs Desert. Macin’s mom does not believe the remains are that of her son based off of information they received at the time the body was discovered, but has yet to receive confirmation one way or another.
Washington County Sheriff’s say it could take months for the results to be confirmed.
“It’s surreal that this continues to be our reality. There was no way to predict,” Bratt-Smith said. “His room remains how he left it. We are hoping, he will sneak back in the middle of the night and we will find him in there snoring one morning. We are hoping our life can go back to having our sweet boy back amongst us again. It’s devastating to think otherwise.”
There have been many reported sightings of Macin over the last two years, none of which have turned out to be him.
Macin is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. He has light blue eyes and he had short blond hair when he went missing. The Smith family moved to Utah from Canada in spring 2015. Macin however was raised in Saratoga Springs until the eighth grade.
It is not known after two years, exactly what Macin would look like but the Help Find Macin Smith Facebook page has age progressed photos and other tips and ideas for what to do if you see someone you think might be him.
To learn more about Macin Smith and how you can join Macin’s Army please visit their Facebook page.