Christopher Ryan Smith

Smith, circa 2010; Edward Shin; Kenny Kraft

  • Missing Since 06/10/2010
  • Missing From Laguna Beach, California
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 12/03/1978 (41)
  • Age 31 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'8, 185 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, green eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Smith was last seen in Laguna Beach, California on June 10, 2010. He has never been heard from again. His white 2009 Range Rover disappeared with him and was found in San Jose, California in August 2011.

In August 2011, Smith's business partner, Edward Younghoon Shin, was charged with his murder. They ran 800 Xchange, an advertising business, together. Shin had previously been convicted of embezzlement and he had several lawsuits pending against him.

When Smith found out about his partner's past, he said he wanted out of the business. Shin agreed to pay him $1 million to buy out his share. Smith disappeared shortly before the payment was supposed to be made.

After his arrest, Shin confessed to the homicide and admitted he'd concealed Smith's absence for seven months by, among other things, sending emails to Smith's family in Oregon pretending to be him and claiming to be on vacation in Africa. The emails continued until December, when they suddenly stopped.

Eventually Smith's family became suspicious because the writing didn't sound like his. They hired a private investigator and, in April 2011, Smith's father reported him as a missing person.

When police checked the office Smith and Shin had shared, they realized it had been cleaned and re-painted. They found blood traces in the carpet and DNA confirmed the blood was Smith's.

Authorities also arrested Shin's personal assistant, Kenny Roy Kraft, and charged him as an accessory: he allegedly helped cover up the homicide by disposing of Smith's vehicle and belongings. Photos of both Shin and Kraft are posted with this case summary.

Smith graduated from Aptos High School in 1997. He was a professional waterboarder in the 1990s, and enjoys outdoor sports, music and traveling. After his sporting career was cut short by a knee injury, he became involved in internet startup businesses.

Shin and Kraft are awaiting trial. Authorities believe he killed Smith because he didn't want to pay him the $1 million he promised. Smith's body has never been found.

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 4, 2011; picture added, details of disappearance updated.