Details of Disappearance Smith worked as a bus driver for SEPTA, the public transit system, in 1997; she had held the job since 1994. She was a hold-down operator, meaning she substituted whenever other drivers were sick or on vacation.
Smith reported for work at 4:00 a.m. on February 18, 1997. At 12:00 p.m. day, she was involved in a minor traffic accident and had to fill out an accident report at the depot. She completed her shift at 1:30 p.m. She was last seen at the Luzerne depot near Old York Road and Luzerne Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 7:00 p.m., several hours after her work day ended.
One of her coworkers offered her a ride home, and she stated she already had a ride she was waiting for. She did not have a car of her own, and usually got rides from coworkers or her father, or took the bus home. Smith apparently never arrived at her apartment and has never been heard from again.
Some have speculated that Juan Covington, a diagnosed schizophrenic, former SEPTA employee, and serial killer, may have been involved in Smith's case. A photograph of Covington is posted with this case summary. He had asked Smith for a date, but she rejected him, and she disappeared shortly after arguing with him at the SEPTA yard.
In 2005, Covington admitted to shooting five people over the course of eight years, killing three of them and wounding two. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three terms of life in prison. It's worth noting that, while he freely confessed to the five shooting incidents, he has not admitted any involvement in Smith's disappearance, and the circumstances of his known murders are much different than the circumstances surrounding Smith's case.
Covington has not been charged in Smith's disappearance, and investigators stated there was no evidence he was involved in her case. The fact that she knew him may have been entirely coincidental.
Smith's case remains unsolved. Her parents describe her as a responsible individual who would not have left without warning. She graduated from Central High School. Prior to taking the SEPTA job, she attended business school and worked at a bank.
Smith worked long hours and saved her money to move from Philadelphia to a new apartment in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania; she completed the move shortly before her disappearance and Cheltenham police are investigating her case.
- Cheltenham Police Department
Updated 7 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated July 13, 2018; picture added.