PA - Judy Smith, 50, Philadelphia, 10 April 1997

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by gaia227, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    I saw this on Unsolved Mysteries over the weekend and did a WS search and did not find a thread about this. It is a very perplexing case indeed.

    Judy and her husband were on their honeymoon in Philly. He was also attending a convention while they were there so Judy set out to do some sight-seeing alone and they agreed to meet at 5pm at their hotel. Judy never showed up. Her husband and children launched an extensive search. Her husband also hired three private detectives. There were numerous sightings of her from Philly to New Jersey. Five months later hunters found Judy's remains - in North Carolina nearly 500 miles away from where she disappeared. There have at least 4 eyewitnesses claiming they saw Judy in the area shopping and in the company of another person.
    Police have been able to confirm that she was on the plane from Boston to Philly with her husband. A female officer questions if Smith was ever in the hotel room as it appeared none of her clothes had been worn and there were no cosmetics found.
    Her husband is considered a suspect. I don't know wht I think about him. He seems pretty genuine and sincere but you never know. LE claims he has refused to take a lie detector but Smith insists that he has not refused.

    These articles have a lot more info.

    http://www.citypaper.net/articles/071797/article010.shtml

    http://www.citypaper.net/articles/100297/cb.smith.shtml

    http://www.citypaper.net/articles/073098/om1.shtml

    http://www.citypaper.net/articles/100997/cb.buncombe.shtml

    http://www.unsolved.com/ajaxfiles/une_judy_smith.htm
     
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  3. Blackwatch

    Blackwatch Former Member

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    I remember reading about this case a few years ago. I thought, at that time, that LE had decided the husband was the guilty party, but reading your links that doesn't seem to be the case, although they have cast a jaundiced eye on him.

    One thought I had off the top of my head is Mrs. Smith may have had a girl friend and they went away together in the girl friend's car. Mrs. Smith may have appeared disoriented because she hadn't made up her mind to "take off" and was preoccupied with this thought in mind.

    How's that for a made up story?

    This is a fascinating case, thanks for posting it.
     
  4. WholeLottaRosie

    WholeLottaRosie Dancing on a moonbeam!

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    Very interesting case. This is the first I had heard of it.
     
  5. Trino

    Trino New Member

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    http://www.citypaper.net/articles/100997/cb.buncombe.shtml

    After reading the link about where her body was found, I don't think the husband was involved. For me, this statement by Lt. Sam Constance said a lot, "...there is no way the portly Jeffrey Smith, or anyone else for that matter, dragged Judith, a big woman in her own right, up the mountain."
     
  6. hdg

    hdg New Member

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    This case was featured on "Unsolved Mysteries" and has always baffled me. I have wondered if Judy was hitchhiking and possibly met up with foul play...but why was she hitchhking? There doesn't seem to be any record of her renting a car or flying to near where she was found or I'm sure we would have heard. The owner of an antiques store in either Kentucky or Tennessee I believe is certain she saw Judy not long after she went missing. Judy seemed in good spirits even told the lady her name was Judy and said some other things that make it sound like it truly was Judy Smith. Why would she travel that far away and not let her husband or anyone in her family know? Is it possible she suffered some sort of mental break and wandered off with no real destination in sight? I never really thought her husband was responsible. It wouldn't seem unlikely he would murder her and then travel cross country to dump her body. Such a baffling case..
     
  7. Debbie Miller

    Debbie Miller New Member

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    After reading only the first two articles- I question the later flight, but it is said that it was verified.
    In the second article where they say she was found, the ME states that the body had been there "for a year or possibly two." This is a red flag for me. I will have to read the rest of the info, but could it be that Judy was killed before it is said that she in fact disappeared from Philly? I would say that bones don't lie, from all I have read and conversations with ME's about other cases.

    Although, Jeffrey and Judy were only married for 8 months when this occured if I am remembering right.

    Also, another thought, Gary Hilton (serial killer) Although I have some reservations about this too, as it seems he took the money from his victims. In 2007, Irene Bryant was found at the same National Forest.

    Just some thoughts.
     
  8. Debbie Miller

    Debbie Miller New Member

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    Smith says he returned to his room from breakfast and suggested to his showering wife that she try it. Judith joked about going as she was, naked and dripping wet.
    Smith says he then left the room for the day's hectic schedule, which culminated with his moderating the final session of the day. When he returned to the room, at about 5:30, Judith wasn't there.

    How could a clothing description be given if he last saw her (or spoke to her) while she was showering?

    I am taking it that her kids lived in Ma. also and had contact with her as well as the friend who is interviewed on the unsolved mysteries link. But the timing of death of the bones is not sitting well with me.

    It is verified that the ticket was used from Ma. to Pa. but was it by the "real" Judith Smith?

    Something with this whole story isn't adding up for me.

    I am wondering if it would be possible to call the PD involved with this and ask some questions.

     
  9. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    Hi Debbie - regarding the body being a year or two old - the first couple times I read it I thought they were referring to the other body found in the area because it did not make sense to me that they thought the body had been there longer than Judy had been missing. Your comment motivated me to go back and re-read and indeed they were talking about Judy......I wish we could get clarification on that. The fact that they had been exposed to the elements for months could be why they looked older than they did. They were probably basing their conclusions on the decomposition of the body and the weathering of the bones. I think if Judy had been missing for a year or so before the trip her children would have said something. From interviews I saw with them it seems they are confirming that Judy was very much alive and home up until they left for Philly. She was a nurse too so I am sure it would be easy to figure out if she was alive during that time.


    I thought of Hilton too. Still the mystery remains - why was she in NC???

    LE has a blue backpack which was buried with the remains that they believe is the killers.
     
  10. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    HA! I never thought of that. Good catch.
     
  11. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    He is a big man who is obviously not in great shape and I agree there is no way he could have been dragging a body around out there. Alone. Could he have had help? If he was guilty he isn't acting like it. He hired three private investigators, spent months combing the Eastern Seaboard, faxed over 9,000 missing persons fliers all over the East Coast, did numerous interviews with the media. Granted, he could just be savvy and knows that all of these things are not the normal actions of a guilty man so he is doing it to take the focus off of himself.

    The eyewitness accounts are bizarre too. Especially the ones from NC - the woman in the X-mas shoppe was able to give an accurate description right down to her red backpack and recount the conversation she had with 'Judy'. 'Judy' told her she was from Boston and was on her honeymoon with her husband but had decided to come down for some shopping. Was this really Judy or someone impersonating her?

    One of the articles said something like - "who was camping in those woods?' Did anyone understand exactly what was meant by that? Do they mean to imply they found evidence that Judy was camping out there or they found remnants of an unknown campsite in the area.

    It just seems very unlikely that martial troubles or not that Judy would take off on her own honeymoon. How did she get there unless someone took her there? She could have been royally pissed that this was their honeymoon and her husband had mixed business with pleasure by scheduling it in conjunction with the convention. I think I would be a little peeved about that but enough to just vanish to go somewhere I was not familar with and not contact my children? I don't know.......
     
  12. Debbie Miller

    Debbie Miller New Member

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    I don't remember Jeffery saying anything about this being a honeymoon. That strikes me odd too. They were married 8 months when she disappeared, funny thing is if you go with what the ME says- one year as first estimate from the time she was found that would be when they got married.

    I also remember reading in one of the articles something to do with Judy being in a part of NC but she wouldn't know the area well. I'll have to find it.
     
  13. Debbie Miller

    Debbie Miller New Member

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    Also the way I read the article, it seemed her clothes were untouched as if she wasn't there at all, so if she showered, where are her dirty clothes for the day she arrived?
     
  14. Debbie Miller

    Debbie Miller New Member

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    The thought has crossed my mind that it was an impersonator. How to fool her kids though?
     
  15. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    ......I could have sworn on Unsolved Mysteries it said they had decided to take their honeymoon in Philly ( I remember that because I thought since they live in Boston Philly doesn't seem like a real exciting place to go on a honeymoon - don't get me wrong, Philly is a great city I just mean it is similar to Boston) and then they said they did it in conjunction with his conference and I thought okay that makes more sense. However, it does not say anything about that on their website. I will try and find a video of the beginning to verify.

    I recall one of the female officers questioned if Judy was even there since none of her clothes had been worn. Her husband said she wore the same clothes they had traveled in - which could explain how he was able to give a description of what she was wearing. Her children said it was like her to not carry make-up with her. It is not clear if by 'no cosmetics' they mean only make-up or if they mean shampoo, razor, lotion, etc.
     
  16. Debbie Miller

    Debbie Miller New Member

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    She could have worn the same clothes from the night before if that is all she wore them for.

    She was said to have on white tennis shoes when missing, but found with hiking boots as to seem she was a hiker.

    There is just so many questionable statements in this.
     
  17. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    She could have purchased the boots at some point. She would have had to have been using cash the whole time - and cash she had on her when she left Philly. Surely LE had their accounts, credit cards flagged so if any money was withdrawn or cards used they would be alerted. The only other explanation is whoever she was with bought them for her.

    I am assuming although cannot find it verified that her husband DID go to the convention that morning. Had they rented a car? I don't think so but if so surely LE checked the mileage. I wonder if they checked to see if he rented a car after they got to Philly maybe the night before or early that morning. It is still hard to believe that given his size and the physical shape he was in he would have been out there hiking around with her. THat would have been pretty difficult for him but I suppose if he really wanted to kill her he could have dealt with it. Taking her to NC under false pretenses and leaving her body there certainly would put distance between them and make it seem unlikely he was involved.
     
  18. STEADFAST

    STEADFAST New Member

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    "The skeleton still had on long, insulated underwear, blue jeans and hiking boots," says Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford. "There was nothing in the pockets. No wallet. No identification at all."
    Near the body, says Medford, investigators found a blue vinyl backpack. Inside were winter clothing and $80 cash. Authorities also found a shirt buried nearby, with $87 in the shirt pocket."
    http://www.citypaper.net/articles/100297/cb.smith.shtml

    She was found early in September when it is not cold enough to be wearing long underwear and hadn't been cold for months. I lived nearby (in Brevard) when her body was found, and I remember that summer as having been unbearably hot.
    Now, having winter clothes on would make sense if she went there in early April -- around the time of the trip to Philadelphia. I think it's very possible that her husband took her there before his trip.
     
  19. OilPainter

    OilPainter New Member

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    I was just thinking of this case but couldn't remember the woman's name. Thank you for all the links - they really do help.

    In all this information has it ever been suggested that there was another man involved? I know they were married for only eight months but hey, in my family alone one marriage lasted less than two months so I'm guessing it's possible.

    I wouldn't want to cast Judy in a bad light but an accomplice so to speak would answer a lot of questions.

    As for not seeing her in Philadelphia, c'mon, hotels have cameras everywhere. Surely, something is on file. That seems more suspicious that a lack of cosmetics in the room.

    And I could be wrong but wasn't there some talk of a rapist known in that area? Maybe I'm confusing this with another case but I thought there was a leaning towards a serial rapist/killer who perhaps "lured" Judy to the campsite.

    Very little makes sense with this story.
     
  20. OilPainter

    OilPainter New Member

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    You were posting STEADFAST just as I was posting. Good points about the winter clothing. And please correct me if I'm wrong - but is the fact that her husband is "portly" the reason why he's considered a suspect? In the articles, one paragraph says he's suspicious while another says that because of his girth he wouldn't have been able to pull her up a mountain.

    Without a doubt - quite a challenging case.
     
  21. MaryLiz

    MaryLiz New Member

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    I saw this case on another show a few years ago. I had forgotten about it. After reading through everything I can't help but think the husband was involved in some way. Things just don't add up. There weren't enough people to verify that Judy was at the DoubleTree in Philly. I think one desk clerk said they saw her. And then later someone who attended the conference her husband did called to say they saw her. But two witnesses in a hotel supposedly full of people for a conference, in my opinion, isn't enough. Granted, his size would make it very difficult for him to go up the mountain but he could have had an accomplice or it could have been a murder for hire situation. I know he moved heaven and earth to find her after her disappearance but that could have been just to throw suspicion off him. It said he was interviewed from his Boston law firm. Even though his firm represented a pharmaceutical company, as an attorney, he could have had a number of connections to do this for him and he also would know how to handle the aftermath. Someone posted on here that Judy Smith was a big woman. I wouldn't call 5"1" and 135 pounds a big woman. She may have been 15-20 pounds overweight but that would hardly make her huge. I just can't shake my suspicions about the husband.
     

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