Jeffrey Lynn Smith was a 16-year-old girl from Hot Springs, Arkansas. Her mother Clarice had worked as a housekeeper and babysitter for Virginia and Jeff Dwire, Bill Clinton’s mother and stepfather. Virginia was a nurse anesthesiologist and helped deliver Jeffrey Lynn, whom Clarice named in honor of the family.
After school ended on December 4, 1985, Jeffrey Lynn and her boyfriend were seen walking at the intersection of Crescent and Silver Streets, a few blocks from her home. According to her sister Lisa Smith,
“She was walking home with her boyfriend, Frank Hanna, and a friend, Lisa. My aunt actually saw them walking home and she stopped and asked them if they wanted a ride. They said ‘no, we are fine.’
We since have communicated with Lisa and Lisa’s like ‘I left. Parted ways with them, and was headed home. They just kept walking.’ But that’s the last time anybody’s seen her.”
Jeffrey Lynn was a responsible teenager and had never missed her curfew until that day.
Her family has been very critical of how investigators dealt with the case at the time. They treated her as a runaway, even though she had no history of doing so. According to Lisa,
“Her case wasn’t given the credence because of who she was. She was Black and they put no value in her life.”
Lisa recalled an incident in which the police told her mother and stepfather they had news about Jeffrey Lynn. When they arrived at the police station, they realized it was a trick to arrest the stepfather for an outstanding traffic warrant.
“That was inhumane. The people who were supposed to protect us were playing games.”
Jeffrey Lynn’s loved ones searched tirelessly for her. Frank joined them, but the family has grown suspicious of him. Reportedly, the teen wanted to end their relationship because he was abusive.
The biggest clue in the case revolves around a ring Clarice had given her daughter a couple of months before for her 16th birthday. Jeffrey Lynn cherished the gold ring with an opal birthstone and never took it off. Shortly after she went missing, the ring was found at a local pawn shop. Her family believes Frank was the one who pawned it.
Lisa says one of the biggest red flags in the original investigation was that authorities didn’t properly look into Frank,
“The interview consisted of them standing at his door and asking him a question. They interviewed him for five minutes. My mom and dad sat outside the door and watched.”
Lisa, who was 19 when her sister vanished, has not stopped searching. She reviewed the case in 2007 and contacted several women who dated Frank. She learned he assaulted two of them and served time for shooting one woman in the face.
Thanks to Lisa’s efforts, Jeffrey Lynn’s case was reopened in 2010. A possible suspect was interviewed, and based on the information they provided, authorities searched three wooded areas in Hot Springs to no avail. The case has gone cold again.
Lisa has been a vocal advocate for her sister and other missing children, volunteering for organizations such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). She tried to contact the Clinton family for help but never received an answer.
Jeffrey Lynn has been missing for 38 years. Her family does not believe she is alive but wants to find her remains and give her a proper burial. Lisa hopes for answers one day,
“I surely hope and pray that [none] of us die without the closure we need. The closure is not only for us but for our children and grandchildren.
I don’t want to leave a legacy of our descendants wondering what ever happened to that girl with the million-dollar smile. I still have hope that we will find her one day.”