“I can still hear her laugh,” Jodi Jones said. “She would laugh a lot.”
Jodi’s younger sister, 35-year-old Grace Allison Smith, has been missing for eight months.
She was last seen on February 23, 2022, in Mason County, West Virginia.
“She’s my only sister left,” Jodi said.
Grace grew up in Point Pleasant, West Virginia with her two older sisters, Jodi and Jill. “She was always just around me and my older sister,” Jodi told Dateline. “She just gravitated towards us and was kind of following us around.” Jodi said their eldest sister, Jill died in 2002 from a brain aneurysm.
Jodi told Dateline that ever since then, it’s just been her and Grace.
According to Jodi, Grace was always extremely bubbly. “She doesn’t know a stranger,” Jodi said. “She could start a conversation with anyone.”
Jodi moved to New York in 2012. She said distance took a toll on the sisters’ relationship. “We were in different paths in life,” Jodi told Dateline. “Unfortunately, we just, you know, kind of grew apart.”
So it wasn’t until February of this year, Jodi said, that she found out about a big part of Grace’s life. “She struggled with drug addiction,” Jodi said. “My mom hid it from me for years.”
Jodi told Dateline that Grace got addicted about a decade ago while she was married. Jodi said that in recent years, Grace’s problem has escalated. “It has been pretty bad the last year or two,” Grace said. “Then it kicked up when her and her husband separated.”
The couple separated in 2021. They share a 10-year-old daughter. Grace also has a 17-year-old son from a previous relationship.
Jodi told Dateline at the time of her disappearance, Grace was living out of her car. “She was homeless,” Jodi said.
On Wednesday, February, 23, 2022, Grace was at their parents’ house. “Grace had went to my mom’s to shower and get some of her laundry,” Jodi recalled. “We had dropped the ball on Grace that we wanted her to go to rehab.”
Jodi told Dateline she spoke with Grace on the phone that day. “I wasn’t trying to push it on her,” Jodi said, but their father didn’t quite use the same tactic. “He said, ‘You’re going to treatment. Meet me tomorrow.’”
But Grace didn’t show up the next day. “That was the last time anyone spoke to her,” Jodi said. “She left my mom’s and she was never seen from or heard from again.”
Grace told Dateline that their family initially thought that Grace was just blowing off treatment. But she said when a couple of days went by and Grace didn’t reach out to their mom, they grew worried. “Mom was the reason Grace had money,” Jodi said.
On Friday, February 25, Grace was reported missing by their mother.
The Mason County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Grace’s disappearance. Dateline spoke with Sheriff Corey Miller. He confirmed that Grace was last seen on February 23, 2022, at her mother’s home in Mason County. Sheriff Miller told Dateline that Grace’s car was found on February 25, in the McClintic Wildlife area. He said, “her purse and car keys were found on the hood of the vehicle” and “most of her personal belongings,” including her clothes, were found inside.
“We believe there’s foul play,” Sheriff Miller told Dateline. “She was actively in her family’s life. She didn’t go a day or two without talking to them.”
Sheriff Miller told Dateline that they have been treating Grace’s disappearance “like we would a murder investigation.” He said his office has done extensive searches of the area where the car was found with cadaver dogs, drones, and people just searching on foot. “We’ve exhausted every recourse to search that area,” Sheriff Miller said. No person or persons of interest have been named in the case.
“We’ve had hundreds of tips,” the sheriff noted. “We’ve ran down every single one of them and have found no truth in any of those statements.” Sheriff Miller told Dateline that they are “still tracking down any leads.”
Jodi also believes something bad has happened to her sister. “Mom said she couldn’t even remember a time that Grace had went more than three days calling her, texting, or meeting up,” Jodi said. “She basically would stay in contact.”
Jodi told Dateline that her family has been doing everything they can to bring Grace home. “We had a big search party up in that western wildlife reserve area,” she said. “We hosted a candlelight vigil.”
But still, no sign of Grace.
“I’m a mom and my poor mom, she’s really struggling,” Jodi said. “It’s very scary.”
The Mason County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $7,500 reward for any information that leads to Grace’s whereabouts.
Grace is 5’4” and weighs 90 lbs. She has blue eyes and short gray hair. She was last seen wearing a blue jacket with a yellow sweater underneath, black Ugg boots, and blue jeans. She also has a tattoo of a fairy on her lower back.
Anyone with information about Grace’s whereabouts is asked to call the Mason County Sheriff’s Office at 304-675-3838.