Friends and family of a missing Central Florida woman gathered Thursday night for a grim anniversary.
- Michelle Parker disappeared Nov. 17, 2011
- Parker last seen dropping off her children at their father's home
- Children's father a prime suspect in disappearance, but was never charged
Nov. 17, 2016, marked five years since Michelle Parker disappeared.
There were smiles, laughter, hugs and tears. Those that were close to Parker say even after five years, they’re still holding on to hope.
“It’s sweet and sour,” said Yvonne Stewart, Parker’s mother. “You get to see everybody, but the occasion stinks.”
The 33-year-old mother was last seen after dropping off her twin children with their father, Dale Smith, at his Orlando home. Parker disappeared right after she and Smith appeared on an episode of “The People’s Court.”
Smith was considered a prime suspect – but never charged.
Seeing family and friends that have been there through it all, even the early days after Parker’s disappearance, helps keep Parker’s parents hopeful.
“The love is there, we just suck it in,” said Stewart. “That’s what keeps us going.”
Despite that support, Parker’s family has accepted the fact they’ll never see her alive.
“That’s not how nature’s supposed to go,” said Stewart. “She should be here with her children, she should be a mommy. She should’ve been carving pumpkins a couple of weeks back. She should be here for Christmas. And somebody took that away from her, and that’s just unthinkable.”
They still want to know what happened. They’re hopeful that day will still come.
“God can move mountains, so maybe something will shake,” said Stewart.
But until then, they’re going to help each other stay strong through gatherings like the one Thursday night.
“She’d be proud of everybody, she would be,” said Stewart.
Anyone who might still know anything about Parker’s disappearance can call Crimeline anonymously: 1-800-423-TIPS.