Cindy Lee Smith

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Above: Smith, circa 1987

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: April 3, 1987 from Winter Haven, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: September 15, 1960
  • Age: 26 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'1, 102 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, green eyes.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Smith was last seen by her boyfriend, William Donald Taylor, on April 3, 1987. She and her six-year-old son from her previous marriage were living with Taylor in Winter Haven, Florida at the time. Smith's relatives said she told them she was going to end her relationship with Taylor and move into her parents' home with her son; however, Taylor says their relationship was good.

    Smith's mother, Elsie Sparrow, reported her missing on April 6, after Smith's boss called her to ask why Smith had not arrived at work. Elsie criticized the investigation into her daughter's disappearance, she stated the sheriff's office did not bother to contact her for three weeks after she filed the missing persons report.

    A month after Smith vanished, her parents heard Taylor was selling her belongings. Smith's father, Carrol Sparrow, went to Taylor's residence with another male relative and searched it, and found Smith's bloodstained mattress inside the house. Carrol gave the mattress to police, who tested it, but only to determine the blood type, as more sophisticated forensic tests did not exist at the time. The mattress was discarded sometime in the 1990s and no samples from it were preserved. Authorities stated Taylor's story about Smith's disappearance conflicted with other witnesses' accounts, and they considered him a person of interest in her case. He says she left with an unknown man, saying she was going to Daytona Beach, Florida, and he never saw her after that. Smith's boss, however, stated he saw her when she left work and got into Taylor's car. Taylor died of natural causes in November 2007, however, and was never charged in Smith's case.

    Smith's loved ones do not believe she would have left of her own accord and abandoned her family, especially her son. She left behind her car and her two dogs, and she never picked up her tax refund check. She was employed at a K-Mart store on Havendale Boulevard in Winter Haven at the time of her disappearance. Curiously, Smith's four-year-old nephew, her sister's son Timothy Davison, disappeared from Decatur, Illinois in 1985 and was never found. The cases are not believed to be connected to one another.

    Authorities believe foul play may have been involved in Smith's disappearance. Her son was raised by his father after her disappearance. Her parents are still alive and hope for a resolution in her case. Her case remains unsolved.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Polk County Sheriff's Office
    863-533-0344

    OR
    863-534-6379

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    Source Information
    The Doe Network
    Florida Department of Law Enforcement
    The Lakeland Ledger

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    Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated March 26, 2010; details of disappearance updated.

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