Orlando police release new video evidence in Michelle Parker disappearance

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Daniel Arkin, Staff Writer, NBC News

Orlando police on Monday released new surveillance video in the case of Michelle Parker, a mother of three who vanished two years ago just hours after she and her ex-fiance appeared in a pre-taped episode of "The People's Court."

The footage shows Parker's Hummer SUV stopped at a red light at around 8:55 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2011, less than one mile away from where the vehicle was discovered the next day, according to police spokesman Sgt. Jim Young. He said authorities "don't know who was behind" the wheel at the time.

Parker was last seen at 3:30 p.m., just after she dropped off her two youngest children with their father, Dale Smith, Jr., 41, who is considered a prime suspect in the case but has not been charged in Parker's mysterious disappearance, Young said.

The afternoon Parker went missing, she and Smith were featured on a pre-recorded installment of the syndicated television series "The People's Court," in which the two settled a dispute over a $5,000 engagement ring.

“(Smith) gets pretty malicious and vindictive,” Parker told the court that day. “He said that he wanted his ring, so I took it off, and I threw it at him.”

Decals on the car advertising Parker's airbrush-tanning business had been removed by the time the Hummer was found abandoned at a mall a day after her appearance. Authorities also found her iPhone under a bridge.

He characterized the video evidence as a "significant" part of the timeline of the disappearance, adding that police did not release the video footage until now in order to "protect the integrity of the investigation" and "protect against false tips."

Orlando detective Mike Moreschi also said for the first time publicly Monday that police don't believe the perpetrator acted alone.

"This was a two-person situation," Moreschi said at police headquarters Monday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Meanwhile on Monday, Parker's mother, Yvonne Stewart, called on Smith's mother to come forward with information, according to NBC affiliate WESH in Orlando.

In an emotional plea to Tamara Smith, Stewart said: "You know where your children are. And we don't know where ours are."

Dale Smith has denied involvement in Parker's disappearance, but Stewart has filed a civil wrongful-death lawsuit against Smith in her daughter's disappearance, according to WESH.