Austin Jay Smith
Smith, circa 1993
- Missing Since 03/23/1993
- Missing From El Monte, California
- Classification Endangered Missing
- Sex Male
- Race White
- Date of Birth 08/13/1969 (53)
- Age 23 years old
- Height and Weight 5'6, 140 pounds
- Clothing/Jewelry Description A gray and yellow plaid shirt over a white muscle shirt, gray dress pants and gray dress shoes.
- Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes. Smith goes by his middle name, Jay.
Details of Disappearance
Smith was last seen on March 23, 1993. He left his home in El Monte, California to keep an appointment with the stage crew manager at the Rosemead High School auditorium. The manager was his former boss. Smith did disc jockey gigs for extra money, and planned to meet the manager at 8:30 p.m. to borrow some equipment to do some deejay work.
Because Smith had a strained relationship with his former employer, his mother and girlfriend were concerned about the meeting. His girlfriend drove to the auditorium and noticed Smith's truck parked there, next to his former boss's truck. When she knocked on the door of the auditorium to check on Smith, Smith's former boss answered and refused to let her in. Smith's girlfriend then left. When she drove past the school again at 11:00 p.m., she noticed both trucks were still parked there.
Smith has never been heard from again. According to his former boss, he left the auditorium between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. He told several different versions of events at the time Smith left. At the time of his disappearance, Smith was carrying a keyring with several keys, and a brown leather wallet containing his identification, bank cards and some photographs.
Another school employee saw Smith's former boss walking back toward the auditorium at around midnight, and offered him a ride there. When the man got into the witness's car, he was "disheveled and mumbling." When they arrived at the auditorium, Smith's truck was no longer in the parking lot. The next day, the truck was found parked behind a dumpster a few blocks from from the school.
Police searched Smith's truck, but there was no evidence. When they searched the auditorium, they found a small amount of blood, but the evidence was accidentally discarded. A large barrel, which students used in theater productions, was missing and was never located.
Authorities subsequently learned that Smith had written a letter to the school board telling them that his former boss was stealing money from the school. Smith's former boss was aware that he had sent the letter and reportedly told one witness that he wanted to take Smith to an alley and beat him up. The man, who still lives locally with his family, is considered the prime suspect in Smith's disappearance, but he has never been charged for lack of evidence.
Smith lived with his mother in 1993. He had taken care of her since his father's death a few years earlier. He was a student at Citrus College and was working at the Home Savings and Loan in Irwindale, California. He is described as a friendly, outgoing, responsible young man. Smith did not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol in 1993, and he was never tardy at work. He is a car enthusiast and talented at mathematics, and dreamed of becoming an accountant.
Smith is not believed to have left of his own accord. He left all of his personal belongings and money behind, and it's uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning. Police believe he was murdered, probably the same day he disappeared. His case remains unsolved.
- El Monte Police Department 626-580-2100
Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 10, 2021; five pictures added, details of disappearance updated.