Winston-Salem, NC-- Long after stories of the missing stop making headlines, the families are left to search and try to maintain hope. A renewed search for a Winston-Salem man, Dedrick Smith, who disappeared in 2006, is giving his family a fresh outlook - that perhaps he may be found.
Dedrick was 6'1" and 178 pounds when he was reported missing.
His mom, Debra Smith, says Dedrick called her at 2 a.m. on October 2nd, 2006 and explained he wouldn't be home that night. He was with his girlfriend, according to his mother.
Since that night, there's been no sighting or even one clue to help police or Debra find her missing son
"It's a struggle everyday to wake up and not know, the child that you birthed, where is your child?," she said as she tried to hold back tears
Dedrick's aunt, Belinda Smith, also can't believe no one has found her nephew's car. It was a 1993 Pontiac Grand AM with North Carolina license plate number NYB3645. It also seems to have vanished into thin air.
"This was not a part of him," said Belinda who explains that Dedrick was close to his family and always maintained contact.
Two neighborhood searches and hundreds of flyers have yielded nothing since 2006.
"What we were doing, we were beating at the air even though we were doing everything we knew to do," said Belinda of their futile attempts to find Dedrick.
Since it became apparent Dedrick was missing, Debra has kept busy with work to ease some of the pain but she says it still creeps up on her.
"At the end of the day, that's when it all hits. When things are quiet, peaceful, everybody is at home with their family and you're wondering, where is my child?" she said
Monday, the Smith family will renew the search
"I need peace and I need closure," said Debra.
Drivers along Sillas Creek Parkway will have a larger-than-life reminder of what Dedrick Smith looks like as they travel along the road starting Modnay.
A billboard will be erected with Dedrick's picture along the 2000 block in hopes it would bring in a lead.
"You've got to get the community talking about it because nobody is going to come forward if nobody is talking about it," said Betty Brown. Brown is with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) and has been closely helping the family line up the billboard.
She explains the cost is being covered by The Kristen Foundation, a non-profit that helps families with endangered adults.
The Smith family says even as they hold on to hope, they are prepared for the worst. They say finding Dedrick's body would be better than never knowing what happened to him.
"I know that we will get an answer. We cannot lose hope. No," said Belinda.
Dedrick is one of just hundreds of missing people across the state.
You can see pictures and profiles of some of them by clicking here.
If you have any information call Crime Stoppers at 727-2800