Details of Disappearance Smith was last seen in Palm Bay, Florida on May 13, 1988. That month, he had placed a classified ad requesting a roommate to share his home in the 700 block of Azure Street.
Authorities believe Charles Harris Schuhart III responded to the ad and met Smith at his home on the day of his disappearance. He apparently stole some blank checks from the home and used them to steal approximately $88,000 from Smith's bank accounts. Smith has never been heard from again. His family in Virginia reported him missing the same month he went missing.
In 1993, Schuhart was convicted of fraud in connection with the check thefts. He served three years in prison. Later in the 1990s and into the 2000s he continued to get in trouble with the law for theft- and fraud-related offenses. He used several alias names, including Cody Martin, Cody Mitchell, Cody Thomas, Charles Lee Parker, Michael Rogers, Devin Martin and Devin Tompkins. In 2007, he was charged with first-degree murder in Smith's case.
A photograph of Schuhart is posted with this case summary. Authorities stated they had additional information, provided by Schuhart himself, which led to the murder charge. In 2005, hoping to get leniency in another fraud case, he stated he knew where Smith's body was buried and that the missing man had been shot to death. He claimed he was present when Smith was killed and helped bury the body. He said two other individuals were involved as well, but no one else has been charged.
Investigators believe Schuhart lured Smith to the Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area in Osceola, Florida and murdered him there. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder in July 2010 and was sentenced to six years in prison.
Because Schuhart had already been in custody for three years awaiting trial, he only had to serve a maximum of three more years. He was paroled in 2011 and now lives in Georgia.
Foul play is suspected in Smith's case due to the circumstances involved. He was divorced at the time of his disappearance and had a teenage daughter who lived in Virginia. He was once a prison guard, but had retired by 1988.
- Palm Bay Police Department
Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 19, 2013; details of disappearance updated.