A transgender woman of color is missing. Sage Smith, who would turn 25 this year, has not been seen for nearly five years. She left her apartment on November 20, 2012 to meet Erik McFadden, then 25, who has also since disappeared. The circumstances surrounding Smith’s disappearance are still being determined by the Charlottesville, Virginia police, who consider McFadden a person of interest.
According to a feature story published July 25 on Splinter News, Smith’s family has had a difficult time getting information, meeting with police, and watching the investigation go nowhere. The process is even more challenging for the family to watch after having seen the outpouring of support and resources poured into searching for Hannah Graham. Graham was a white, cisgender woman who attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Her remains were found five weeks after she disappeared.
On March 29, Charlottesville police officers reclassified Smith’s case as a homicide. According to Charlottesville Police Lt. Steve Upman, the reclassification was prompted by “the totality of the investigation up to this point” and the fact that Smith has not been heard from since she was reported missing in November 2012. In doing so, the case is now classified as a criminal investigation, which expands the investigate resources police can use to solve the case.
Like many transgender women of color who are the victims of violence or aggression, Smith’s story did not make it to the mainstream media. GLAAD has counted 17 transgender women murdered around the country in 2017 alone, and it is rare for these to show up on evening news.
Smith’s case is currently being investigated by Detective Regine Wright-Settle. Anyone with information about Smith should call Wright-Settle at 434-970-3274 or Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.