Verna Marie Richardson

Richardson, circa 1990; Alexander Smith

  • Missing Since 07/07/1990
  • Missing From Fort Myers, Florida
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race Black
  • Date of Birth 06/12/1942 (82)
  • Age 48 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'8, 180 - 225 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A sleeveless flowered nightgown and a sleeveless green checkered night-coat.
  • Medical Conditions Richardson suffers from numerous medical problems. She is a diabetic and dependent on insulin which she doesn't have with her, she has high blood pressure, she's partially paralyzed on her left side and she requires three kidney dialysis treatments a week.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics African-American female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Richardson wears eyeglasses. She is missing her two upper front teeth, and her ears are pierced.

Details of Disappearance

Richardson began dating Alexander Smith during a rough patch in her marriage. A photograph of Smith is posted with this case summary. She ended the relationship in mid-1990 and attempted to reconcile with her husband.

Smith came to Richardson's house in the 1800 block of south Meador Court in Fort Myers, Florida on July 7, 1990. Her twelve-year-old granddaughter was present at the time, and Richardson asked her to go to another room. She then called her adult son and asked him to come over. He promised he would, but fell asleep instead.

Richardson and Smith left the house together sometime afterwards, leaving her insulin behind. It's unclear whether she left the residence voluntarily or whether he forced her to come with him.

The follow day, Richardson called a friend collect and said she was at a pay phone at a Hardy store on State Road 70 east near Lake Okeechobee. She said Smith had taken her against her will, tied her hands behind her back, beaten her and broken her glasses. She said he'd gone inside the store to buy liquor.

Richardson promised to call back, but she never did. A store clerk saw her enter the store, wearing a nightgown. She has never been heard from again.

Another of Richardson's sons met Smith in Fort Myers a week later. Smith was driving Richardson's car at the time. He said she was at a Tice Hotel and offered to let her son follow him there.

During the trip, Smith flipped Richardson's vehicle on Interstate 75 and was arrested for drunk driving. Her purse was found on the car's front seat. The police held him for four hours before releasing him. His whereabouts today are unknown.

Richardson's case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected. She left behind ten children.

Investigating Agency

  • Lee County Sheriff's Office 800-780-8477

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated June 30, 2016; medical conditions and details of disappearance updated.