Stephen E. Smith

Smith, circa 1982; Bernard Swaim

  • Missing Since 07/12/1982
  • Missing From Cashmere, Washington
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Age 30 years old
  • Height and Weight Unknown
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male.

Details of Disappearance

Smith was last seen at his home in Cashmere, Washington on July 12, 1982. His sister reported him missing on July 18. Several days later, his 1966 Pontiac Tempest was found abandoned on Dead Man's Hill Road near Dryden, Washington. He has never been heard from again.

On July 31, when Smith's family members were cleaning his home, they found large amounts of blood on a mattress, towel, sofa and an ax handle, as well as a broken tooth, later determined to be Smith's.

In March 2017, Bernard Edmund Swaim was charged with Smith's murder. Later that month, Dawn Soles, Swaim's ex-wife, was also charged with murder. Smith had full custody of their daughter and was described as a devoted father; Soles had supervised visitation once a month. Authorities believe she and Swaim conspired to murder Smith so she could get custody of the child. In an interview with police, Soles implicated both Swaim and herself in Smith's death.

A photo of Swaim is posted with this case summary. Soles pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance and testified against him at his trial in September 2017, and his defense attacked her credibility, pointing out the conflicting statements she's given to authorities about Smith's disappearance. Much of the physical evidence had disappeared in the years since 1982. Swaim was acquitted of all charges.

Smith's body has never been found, but foul play is suspected in his disappearance due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Chelan County Sheriff's Office 509-667-6842

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 7, 2017; details of disappearance updated.