Michele Lyn Hundley Smith lived with her husband and 3 children in Stoneville, a quaint North Carolina town known for antique stores and mom-and-pop shops with a population of less than 1,000.
According to NBC News, on December 9, 2001, at 8:30 pm, the 38-year-old kissed her family goodnight and drove off in her forest green 95' Trans Sport Van with the license plate ROK-N-ON to do some last-minute Christmas shopping in Martinsville, Virginia, 20 miles away.
According to Michele's husband, their 14-year-old daughter, Amanda, woke up at midnight and went into a panic when she realized her mother hadn't returned. Neither Michele, her purse containing her and her children’s social security cards, nor her vehicle was ever seen again.
Five months later, Michele's husband received a letter in the mail from Maryland. According to The Vanished Podcast, it was addressed to Michele and Amanda and read that Amanda’s social security number had been used in Cumberland. Amanda contacted the number provided but they refused to give her any additional information over the phone. It’s unclear whether the social security number was used by Michele, someone involved in her disappearance, or simply a stranger who found it.
Michele’s husband told their children she left them on purpose to start a new life. Several years later, he suddenly claimed that Michele had left a note behind stating she loved her family but could no longer stay. It’s unclear whether the note even exists; during an interview with The Vanished Podcast, Amanda said that her father now denies ever mentioning a note.
"I just hope and pray that someday someone will tell where she’s at or if she’s out there and she’s watching this come home. Come home. Come home. Come home. Just come home. No, matter the circumstances why you left."-Michele's cousin, Barbara Byrd
Michele worked at a veterinarian clinic but she was fired shortly before her disappearance for drinking on the job. She struggled with alcoholism which led to many fights between her and her husband. Their relationship was known to be tumultuous and often turned physical. He is now remarried and lives in the same house. Their children are convinced that he accidentally hurt Michele during an argument, or that she was harmed by someone else. They do not believe she left them voluntarily.
“My hope is that if she is out there, somewhere, she’ll see this, and reach out. I just want her to know that I would accept her and welcome her back with open arms.” — Amanda Hundley
According to The Charley Project, Michele was last seen wearing a green blouse, blue jeans, and brown moccasins. She was 5'3" and 150 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance, contact Crime Stoppers at 336-349-9683 or Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office at 336-634-3238.