Family and friends of a man missing for months gathered for a vigil


Family and friends of a man missing for months gathered for a vigil on his 29th birthday to pray for his safe return.


David Gipson Smith traveled from his home in New Jersey to Howard County in early August to meet a friend. From there, he's seemingly vanished, and family hasn't heard from him since.


"Today's his birthday. And it was important for me to be at the site where he was last seen," said Julie Smith, David's mother.


She and her husband, Doug, organized a three hour bus ride from their church in New Jersey so family and friends could hold a vigil for David near the area he was last seen in Woodbine.


"He's just incredibly missed," said Julie. "We're on day 112, and it's just time to find him."


"It's just dramatically out of character," Doug said. "The longest we've ever gone even being out of contact with him has been probably four days, maybe five days at the most."


David's parents are the first to say that the circumstances surrounding their son's disappearance don't add up.


They say David left their home in New Jersey August 5th to visit a friend in Howard County, that he was supposed to stay with her, but those plans fell through and he ended up staying with the woman's friend in Ellicott City. That second woman has said that her parents didn't want David to stay with them after all, so she dropped him off on some property that belongs to her family, a secluded wooded area set back from Woodbine Road.


"There is a pond and around the pond was a campfire and hammock and some chairs," Julie said, describing the area. "Almost like an early junkyard feel to it."


According to Julie, the woman has said David was using drugs and wanted to detox. Family says David has struggled with substance abuse, but he's been clean for a year. They say there have been inconsistencies in the stories of both of the women and they question what actually happened.


"There's enough suspicious behavior surrounding the story that it brings fear," Julie said.


Howard County Police say they've conducted a large scale search of the property by land and air but found no sign of David. Investigators say while there's no evidence of foul play, they are considering every possibility.


Julie and Doug say police have requested they not name the two women David last had contact with.


Family is now offering a $6,000 reward for information that leads them to David.


"We pray, we hope, we trust someone willl come forward with truthful information to help us find him," said Julie.


David is 6'4 with tattoos on his chest, arms and torso. If you think you see him, family asks that you take a photo and call 856-981-1357.


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