On Tuesday, September 1, 2015, Macin Smith got up early and made himself breakfast before leaving his home in St. George, Utah. The seventeen-year-old began walking toward his bus stop, but he never got on the bus and didn’t go to any of his Desert Hills High School classes. Nobody saw Macin again after he left his house that morning. No one knows what he did after that.
The night before he disappeared, Macin went to bed early. But when his father woke up in the middle of the night, he found Macin watching anime cartoons online. Macin’s dad took away his phone and laptop as a punishment because he wasn’t allowed to use the internet after bedtime. Macin didn’t say anything to his father about the punishment at the time, but it was clear that he was upset about it. This seems to be what made him decide to skip school that morning.
Darrin and Tracey Smith, Macin’s parents, were still asleep when he left the house, so they didn’t know he wasn’t on the school bus. That morning, the school told Tracey through her personal email account that Macin was going to be marked absent. However, she was at work and didn’t see the message until late that afternoon. As soon as she read the email, she ran home, but Macin wasn’t there.
When it came to how much time Macin spent on the internet, his parents and teen son always had different ideas. Since May of the previous year, the family had moved from Canada to Utah. Darrin and Tracey thought Macin should try harder to make new friends. Rachel Howard, his aunt, said, “He doesn’t go to friends’ houses and they don’t come over to his house.” Macin was happy to stay home and watch anime on his laptop.
When Darrin and Tracey found out that Macin had not gone to school, they were not too worried. He was a good student who always got As and Bs in class, so they thought he was just mad that his phone and laptop were taken away and needed some time to calm down. Macin had threatened to run away from home after being told he couldn’t play video games as much when the family lived in Canada. He packed a sleeping bag and a backpack and left the house. After a few hours, he came back because he was cold. Tracey thought they were in the same boat and thought Macin would be home later that night.
After hours, Macin still hadn’t said anything. Tracey called the St. George Police Department to report Macin missing when he didn’t come home by his 10:00 pm curfew. Macin was labeled as a juvenile runaway by Sgt. Sam Despain, who then put several detectives on the case.
People who usually rode the bus with Macin but didn’t remember seeing him that Tuesday were asked by Tracey if they had seen him. Police were told by a neighbor that she was sure she saw the teen walking toward his bus stop early Tuesday morning, but she couldn’t remember where he went after that. His trail ended not long after he left home.
Macin’s backpack, which Tracey thought he had taken with him that morning, was hidden in his closet. She searched through Macin’s room for clues about where he was and found it. It was clear that Macin knew before he left the house that he was going to skip class because all of his school books and notebooks were inside.
The police at first thought that Macin might have tried to return to his old home in Canada, where some of his relatives still lived. It seemed possible to his parents until they found out he had left his wallet at home. His ID and money were still in it after he put it in one of the drawers of his nightstand. He probably hadn’t gone to Canada since he didn’t have any money with him.
There were days when Macin wasn’t seen. His mother went through all of his things, looking for any sign that he was somewhere. She found a note he had folded up and put in a secret pocket in his wallet a few days after the last time she saw him. When she read it, Tracey could only cry. Macin seemed to have been very angry that his father had taken away his phone and laptop, and he had written everything that was on his mind. Tracey noticed one word: “I’m done.”
Macin seemed to say in the note that he was thinking about committing suicide, even though he didn’t say it directly. The police noticed that Macin had hidden the letter instead of leaving it out in the open. They also didn’t think it could be a suicide note. He told his family he was sorry and didn’t plan on going back home in a letter that was more of a goodbye.
In the future, Tracey would tell reporters what was in the note. “It was a note that he meant to hurt himself.” Not much was written—just a note of frustration, anger, and a sense that he wasn’t heard or valued. The message basically just said, “I’m done.” It didn’t say where or how.
Investigators looked through Macin’s phone and laptop for any clues about where he was, but they found that he didn’t really use either to talk to other people. Besides texts to and from his mom, the only things he seemed to do on his phone were send and receive texts. There was no sign of him on social media, and he didn’t seem interested in using the internet to meet new people.
Macin was very shy and had been picked on in middle school because she had a slight speech problem. As a young teen, he showed some signs of depression but always said everything was fine. His relationship with his mother had always been very close. At first, he was excited about moving from Canada to Utah because he didn’t like the long winters in Canada. His family was planning to take him to Disneyland after he graduated from high school, which made him happy. He also didn’t seem suicidal in the days before he went missing. “That’s what’s so confusing,” Tracey said. He was excited about things to come.
The teenager was last seen walking alone, so police and volunteers searched the area several times. They knew he probably hadn’t gone very far. People in St. George were asked to go door-to-door and put up posters saying that Macin was missing to find anyone who might have seen him after he left his home.
At least five people saw a young man who looked like Macin near Interstate 15 on September 3, 2015. He had a sign with his name on it asking for a ride to Las Vegas. Darrin and volunteers from Red Rock Search and Rescue walked up and down the Las Vegas strip for several days passing out flyers with Macin’s picture and description on them. However, they couldn’t find any proof that Macin was in the area.
More than 250 people came to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in St. George on September 12, 2015, to look for Macin. They carefully looked over the rocky hills between Macin’s house and the St. George Regional Airport for any sign of the missing teen. The Smith family was thankful for the community’s help, even though they didn’t find anything. Rachel, Macin’s aunt, said, “This community has been so amazing.” We are so impressed with how everyone is coming together to help and love us.
A vigil with candles was held on September 16, 2015, and many people came to pray for Macin’s safe return. Tracey and Darrin tried to stay positive, and they begged anyone who knew anything about their son to call the police.
On September 26, 2015, a second large-scale search for Macin took place. Over 80 people used K9 units and horses to search the St. George area for 12 hours. Tracey told reporters that Macin might have been seen again in Las Vegas, but she wasn’t sure if the person who saw him had actually seen her son. I won’t believe it until someone sends me a picture and says it’s really him. His family and I are looking for him in the St. George area. I don’t think he went very far.
Red Rock Search and Rescue said on October 27, 2015, that they would pay $1,000 for information that would help them find Macin. It was posted on their Facebook page with the words, “We think a friend may know where he is and we would like them to step forward.” Soon, Macin’s family raised the reward to $10,000.
The leader of Red Rock Search and Rescue, David Cummings, said that Macin’s case was very strange. “This just makes no sense.” He looks like someone picked him up and took him away. Everything we’ve seen so far has been fake, so we’re not getting anything.
Even though months went by, nothing changed in Macin’s case. That the teen’s body hadn’t been found yet meant there was a good chance he was still alive, but detectives still didn’t know what had happened to him after he left home.
As the investigation slowed down, police turned their attention to Macin’s parents. They asked Darrin and Tracey to take polygraph tests, even though they hadn’t found any evidence that either parent had hurt their son. Both of them agreed, they passed, and they were not found to have had anything to do with Macin’s disappearance.
Macin should have been 18 years old on April 7, 2016, and Tracey hoped that her son would get in touch with them once this important event was over and he was no longer a child. Even though the day was over, Macin hadn’t said anything, so his family had to accept that they might never hear from him again.
The day that Macin went missing was coming up, and Tracey and Darrin were still looking for new ways to let people know that their son was still missing. In August 2016, the couple made more than 500 lunches to give to homeless people. On each lunch bag, they put a picture of Macin and a brief description of his case.
Two people came up to the Smiths and said they thought they had seen Macin riding a bus in the area while they were handing out the lunch bags. Each one was about a young man who was by himself and looked like he was writing in a journal. This gave Macin’s parents hope that the witnesses had really seen their son. Macin kept a journal where he often wrote down song lyrics.
Tracey told Darrin that she thought things would get better than he did. “I really think he’s still alive. His dad and I have different ideas. Darrin wants to find a body, while I want to find a walking teenage boy.
In the fall of 2016, Red Rock Search and Rescue set up a number of new searches for Macin. David Cummings thought that the group’s work would pay off in the end. “We’re going to find him.” We will find him, I promise. I’m sure of myself.” Unfortunately, none of their searches turned up anything.
Macin told his mom that he would go to California if he ever ran away from home. When he told her that, she didn’t think much about it, but now that he wasn’t there, she wondered if he had gone west. In January 2017, the missing teen was seen several times in Sacramento. Police in Sacramento were helping the St. George Police Department with their investigation.
When people saw her son in Sacramento, Tracey hoped that they would help her find him. “It seems too random that three people with no connection to my son—one of whom didn’t even know about Macin before she talked to him—all say they saw him in the same place.” Because that has never happened before, I need to take a close look at it. St. George hasn’t had it happen. Salt Lake City hasn’t seen it happen.
Tracey told the press that she wasn’t going to make Macin come home if he didn’t want to, but she was dying to find out if he was still alive. “Great news if he’s still alive; we hope he’s doing well and thriving. This week’s events have given me new hope that he might still be alive.”
Macin hadn’t been seen or heard from for two years by September 2017. His mother had a hard time staying positive. Even though we haven’t found him, I think he’s out there somewhere. But my mother heart tells me that if he could have reached out, he would have. He should be home now, I think.
Detectives still didn’t know what happened to Macin and weren’t willing to rule out any possibilities. Still, 14 thorough searches of the area around Macin’s house had turned up no sign of the missing teen, and they admitted that if he had killed himself, they probably would have found his body. They thought he might be alive, but they didn’t know where he could have gone. It was strange that he ran away and that we still haven’t found his body. Usually, a lot of bodies are found around the outside of people’s homes. During the search for Macin, several sets of human remains were found, but none of them belonged to him.
Volunteers searched two areas in southern Utah in October 2017 that hadn’t been looked in during the first search. These were the area around the Man O’War Bridge near Bloomington Park and a washland near St. George Elementary School. They didn’t find any evidence that Macin had been in either place. Tracey said that she had mixed feelings about the search. “This is interesting because you want to know what’s going on but you don’t.” There were times when she didn’t want to find Macin, but she was still hopeful that he was still alive and would one day be with his family again.
Tracey made a Facebook page about the search for her son to help her deal with the fact that he was missing. More than 50,000 people were following the page by 2017. Jolyne Gailey, who was in charge of the page, thought that Macin was either dead or being held against his will. There is always the chance that he doesn’t want to be found, but I don’t think that’s who he is. He was a “mama’s boy” and used to living a certain way. I don’t think he’s homeless and just hasn’t been in touch with his family.
Not long after the third anniversary of Macin’s disappearance, there was another search for him. Dozens of volunteers helped look through more than two square miles of desert near Macin’s home in St. George. Tracey said, “It’s been three years and we still don’t know what happened. We have to consider the possibility that he has died.” She really just wanted answers. It’s too bad that this search, like the others, didn’t turn up any clues about what got Macin.
Sgt. Choli Ence of the St. George Police Department said, “In runaway juvenile cases, you usually have some idea of where they might be.” That wasn’t the case here, though. He just disappeared.”
Macin’s family named a park bench in his honor at Crimson Ridge Park near their home in January 2019. The bench was painted blue, which was Macin’s favorite color, and it had his name, date of birth, and the date he went missing written on it. It also said, “Never give up, never surrender.”
A local metalworking company gave the bench away for free. A manager at Creative Metal Fx named Wil DuCrest told reporters that his company wanted to give Macin’s family a place to sit and talk. “We also wanted it to be a place where other people who are going through the same thing Macin was could go.”
Tracey was thankful that the company gave her money. “This gift means so much to us that I can’t say it enough. May we find peace and joy in our lives going forward.” It’s even better than I thought it would be. This is a wonderful gift that we will use for a long time.
Macin has still not been seen since April 2023, when she would be 25 years old. Over the years, dozens of sightings of him have been reported, including a few that seem very likely. However, none of them have been confirmed, and Macin’s whereabouts are still unknown. Still, police don’t know if he left his house that morning with the intention of hurting himself or just to run away. Maybe he’s still alive and living in a homeless camp somewhere. On the other hand, he might have been killed after leaving his house. Detectives are still looking for the clues they need to bring Macin home and make things right for his family.
The last time Macin Darrin Smith was seen was in September 2015 in St. George, Utah. He was only 17 years old. Macin was a shy teenager who liked doing things like singing, playing his guitar, and watching anime. He left a note that seemed to suggest he was thinking about hurting himself, but his body has never been found, and police don’t know if he really meant to kill himself or just move on with his life. When he went missing, Macin was 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 200 pounds. He has blue eyes and blonde hair. It was a little hard for him to speak, and he often bit his fingernails right through. Macin wore a T-shirt, basketball shorts, and black Nike sneakers with blue soles the last time he was seen. Please call the St. George Police Department at 435–627–4300 if you know anything about Macin.