Though the two were last seen on December 4, 2016, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, they were only reported missing about two months later, on January 31, 2017.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 1, 2022. It has since been updated.
A cold case in North Carolina has come to an end after a woman and her daughter who went missing five years ago were found. Amber Renaye Weber and daughter Miracle Smith, who were 21 and 1 at the time of disappearance, were found alive at a home last week in Bunnlevel, North Carolina—just 20 miles away from where they vanished, according to WFMY News.
Though the two were last seen on December 4, 2016, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, they were only reported missing about two months later, on January 30, 2017. Authorities launched a search at the time of their disappearance, but they had no leads, until January 25, 2022. U.S. Marshals said that they found Amber Renaye Weber and her daughter, Miracle Smith at a home on Lemon Lane in Bunnlevel, per ABC 11. The U.S. Marshals, along with ATF agents took the child and her sibling to the Harnett County Department of Social Services to provide victim assistance. It seems like the woman gave birth to another child during the time she was missing.
They also took 59-year-old, Joe Smith, into custody. He had been charged on January 19, 2022, with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Also, four firearms were seized from the house that Miracle and her mother were found in. However, the nature of his relationship with Weber and Smith has not been disclosed.
CBS17 has reported that Joe Smith is the grandfather of Weber’s children and the home that Weber and her daughter were found in belongs family of Weber’s children’s father. Officials revealed that they had originally gone to a trailer in the property as part of a weapons case involving Joe Smith, which is when they discovered Weber and Smith there.
Reports suggest that the U.S. Marshals were involved in the case in February 2021 after the Fayetteville Police Department sought help from the federal agency to assist in locating the two, who were said to be victims of previous physical abuse.
"The culmination of years of following leads and tips resulted in the outcome that we had all hoped for today; the successful recovery of a child who had been missing since December 2016," said Michael East, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina. "The U.S. Marshals Service and our investigative partners will not quit, nor be deterred until these children are rescued."
ATF Special Agent in Charge Vince Pallozzi said the search not only helped get guns out of the hands of a convicted felon but also "brought some closure and relief to family and friends of the missing person."
Miracle Smith Missing - North Carolina Mother and Young daughter found safe after going missing in 2016— InsideEko.com (@InsidEkoMedia) January 27, 2022
A North Carolina mother who went missing with her young daughter in 2016 has been found safe, according to authorities. Amber Renaye Weber, then 21… https://t.co/tYAdifblqK
"This investigation highlights the dedication and perseverance of every investigator involved," said Gina Hawkins, Fayetteville Police Chief. Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats, whose office was one of several ones that assisted on the case, said he was thankful that the two were found safe "due to the hard work and perseverance of all of the agencies involved."
While federal investigators claim they are still not entirely clear about what happened to the mother-daughter duo, the family is just glad to have them back home.
Monty Weber, Amber Weber’s father, said the last five-plus years as “hard,” but expressed relief his daughter and granddaughter are safe. “We’re happy,” he said. “We’d like to see her.”
Weber and his wife said they have not seen their daughter since the discovery. Here's hoping they're reunited soon!
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Fayettville Police Department