U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina Michael East says he's proud of the "interagency communication" that led investigators to t
U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina Michael East says he’s proud of the “interagency communication” that led investigators to the recent discovery of a North Carolina mother and daughter who had been missing for five years.
East and other officials on Tuesday located Amber Weber and her daughter, Miracle Smith, who were reported missing on Jan. 31, 2017, but were last seen on Dec. 4, 2016, when Weber was 21 and Smith was just a year old.
“One of the things I think that I’m as proud of as a supervisor is to see the interagency communication,” East told Fox News Digital. ” … It’s one thing to let a case go, you know, a couple of weeks or couple of months, but they … still continue to follow up on stuff over the years. That’s impressive in the fact that, again, in cases involving children, you know, everybody wants to jump in and help. And so it was great teamwork, great coordination.”
Leads into the missing pair’s disappearance came up dead for five years until 2021, when officials got a lead that led them to the rural property where they eventually found Weber and her daughter, East said.
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Marshals, along with authorities from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and local law enforcement agencies, found and safely recovered the pair, who were previous victims of abuse, on Tuesday at a home on Lemon Lane in Bunnlevel. They also recovered Weber’s second child, who was never reported missing.
“Imagine two roads that intersect in very rural farmland … and there’s probably about five or six different houses along these two … roads that intersect,” East explained, adding that “basically everybody living in that area was family or related to” Joe Smith, whom authorities believe may be associated with Weber’s and Miracle’s disappearance.
Smith, 59, is Miracle’s grandfather, according to East.
The ATF charged Smith with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and he was taken into custody on Tuesday.
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“The investigator felt that they had enough probable cause to charge Joe Smith with possession of a firearm by a felon,” East said. “And so at that point in time, that’s when they got ATF involved, and ATF took the lead in taking up charges against Mr. Smith since he was a career felon.”
Once they executed Smith’s arrest, they located Weber and her two daughters.
Officials transported Miracle and “her sibling” to the Harnett County Department of Social Services for victim assistance, according to a press release.
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Officials recovered “numerous firearms from a convicted felon” as a result of their investigation, ATF Special Agent in Charge Vince Pallozzi said.
Weber and Smith in a trailer on a property that her children’s father’s family owns.