Karen Jo Smith

Smith, circa 2000; Halcomb, circa 2000; Halcomb's vehicle; Ring similar to Smith's ring

  • Missing Since 12/27/2000
  • Missing From Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 10/12/1965 (58)
  • Age 35 years old
  • Height and Weight 4'11, 148 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A gray Indiana University sweatshirt, jeans or gray sweatpants, white socks, a pink marquise ring with gold stripe across the stone, a gold ring with seventeen diamonds on a cross band (similar to the one pictured with this case summary), and possibly a black leather thigh-length jacket with a large hood and gold satin lining. Possibly carrying a twelve-inch black leather purse with a shoulder strap and a multicolored woven leather cigarette case.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Light blue 1983 Ford LTD with the Indiana license plate number 95W7801 (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Smith has scars on her left foot and on her abdomen. She has a surgical scar on her left knee. Smith wore a retainer on her lower teeth at the time of her 2000 disappearance. She has a wide gap between her upper front teeth. Smith's right index finger was severed during a sewing accident and reattached prior to her disappearance. She occasionally walks with a limp as the result of a cleft foot. One of Smith's ankles was reconstructed during her childhood. Her left ear is pierced three times on the earlobe, with an additional piercing in the upper cartilage. Smith's right ear is pierced twice in the earlobe. Her maiden name is Bishop.

Details of Disappearance

Smith was last seen at her residence in the 800 block of Weghorst Street in Indianapolis, Indiana at approximately 10:30 p.m. on December 27, 2000. Her son told authorities that her former husband, Steven D. Halcomb, was sitting in the family's living room with Smith at the time. Her son reported that Smith appeared to be experiencing drug-induced sleepiness.

Her two children did not hear any suspicious activity within their house during the night. They reported her as a missing person when Smith could not be located the following morning. She also missed an appointment that day. She left behind her car, jewelry, and money at her house. She was in financial trouble at the time of her disappearance and had previously filed for bankruptcy.

Halcomb had been paroled from a drug-related conviction in August 2000, four months before Smith vanished. Smith previously told her family members that she felt threatened by him.

He dropped out of sight at the same time Smith disappeared; he failed to show up for work the next day. His vehicle, a light blue 1983 Ford LTD with the Indiana license plate number 95W7801, was also missing. Photos of him and his car are posted with this case summary.

Halcomb turned himself into authorities on January 11, 2001 after violating his parole. He had been in California. His vehicle was located and inspected for possible evidence related to Smith's disappearance, but nothing was found during the search. He has maintained his innocence regarding Smith's case and told investigators he never saw his former wife around the time she vanished, but Smith's family believes that he was involved in her case.

Halcomb was denied parole in 2001 and remained in prison until the end of his sentence in 2003. After being released from prison, he disappeared again. He was indicted in absentia for Smith's murder in August 2003, over two and a half years after she disappeared. He was later apprehended and arrested.

A cellmate of Halcomb's testified he heard Halcomb confess to strangling Smith, and prosecutors produced other evidence that he abused and stalked Smith and tried to hire an undercover police officer to kill her before her disappearance.

His lawyers argued that there was no evidence Smith had been murdered. They suggested that she had committed suicide or left town to avoid her creditors. Halcomb was convicted of the murder in December 2004 and was sentenced to 95 years in prison. He will not be eligible for parole until he is in his eighties. He maintains his innocence in Smith's case.

Smith's loved ones have stated that it is very uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning. She is very devoted to her two children, who are now being cared for by relatives. Smith's family believes that she may have traveled to the southeast section of Indianapolis after her initial disappearance.

Her remains have never been found, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated February 3, 2005.