Fiance: Smiley wouldn't be drinking on the road with her son

Fiance: Smiley wouldn't be drinking on the road with her son
Shantina Smiley and Azriel Carver are seen in an undated photo.
SEATTLE -- The fiance of the missing Silverdale woman says she had a drinking problem and relapsed last week.

However, Robb Simmons doesn't believe Shantina "Kat" Smiley would do anything to endanger her 8-year-old son, Azriel Carver, who is also missing.

"To think that she would be drinking on the road with her son, that's an insane idea. I don't believe that would happen," he said.

And the missing boy's aunt agrees. Dana Carver suspects 29-year-old Smiley fell victim to an unfortunate series of events.

"I think she was just being a silly, stupid woman who trusted the wrong people. And (she) was in a bit of a jam and it was getting dark, and probably took kindness from the wrong stranger.

"Well, heck, she knocked on a stranger's door. Who in their right mind does that? Knocks on a stranger's door to use their phone? I just think she was scared and had no idea," said Carver.

Meantime, the boy's father, Jay Carver, flew out from Buffalo, N.Y. on Tuesday night to join the search for his son.

Jay Carver said he met Smiley in Hawaii, and the two were never married. The man said he hasn't seen his son in years, but spoke to him over the phone just a few days before he disappeared.

"I just really loved to be able to hear his voice, and talk to him on the phone. Just look forward to seeing him," he said. "He's awesome. He's a character. And he has a really great sense of humor, and loves to laugh. Downright just a really genuine kid."

The father planned to join the search efforts on Wednesday, starting with the places where Smiley and her son were last seen before they disappeared.

"I'm going to look around, and probably spend a lot of time looking in the woods. I know there's been a lot of people looking already," he said. "I'm going to see what they've already unturned and uncovered, and possibly, hopefully, maybe find him."

Jay Carver said he felt "very helpless" just hearing updates of the investigation while in Buffalo.

"You know, like there's nothing I could do," he said. "I'm here, and I'm just hoping it's not too late."

Smiley and her son were headed to her stepfather's home when they disappeared over the weekend. The van Smiley drove was found Sunday abandoned and partially submerged in water on a remote Puget Sound beach.

"It's almost like she vanished out of thin air," said stepsister Chelsie Woodard, 32, of Castle Rock, whose father used to be married to Smiley's mother.

Investigators were taking another look at the van now that it has dried out. And the sheriff's office sent someone to Kitsap County to continue the investigation near Smiley's home.

Friends and family are befuddled, and authorities said the case baffles them, as well.

Thurston County Sheriff's Lt. Chris Mealy said Tuesday that investigators don't know anything more than what they knew Sunday.

Investigators continued to talk to people who know Smiley or her son and those who may have met her as she drove through the back roads of Washington state on Saturday night.

Her stepsister said everyone in the family thinks something different about what happened to Smiley, because so little information about her disappearance has surfaced.

Woodard was looking forward to Smiley's arrival with her son, Azriel Carver, around 7:30 or 8 p.m. Saturday evening. They were going to spend the night at her house and get more thoroughly re-acquainted after a few years of being out of touch while they lived in different parts of the country.

But Smiley and Azriel never showed up.

Carie Tonovitz, of Silverdale, said in an e-mail Tuesday that Smiley was a good mom who was very wrapped up in her son's life. Tonovitz, Smiley and her fiance are den leaders of their sons' Cub Scout group.

"Kat and Robb are cute to see together, great parents, good people," Tonovitz wrote. "Kat and Robb are very involved in Scouts, Kat going so far as to sleep on the gym floor a couple of weeks ago with the Cub Scouts. I snuck home because I was unwilling to do that."

Family and friends are depending on Simmons to keep them informed about the investigation, Woodard said.

Simmons and Mealy both said they don't have much information to share.

"I'm trying to be optimistic. I'm trying to be hopeful," Simmons told KOMO Radio on Tuesday. "I just want to hear that she's safe."

Woodard described her younger stepsister as smart, nice and happy.

"She likes to do family things and outdoor type things just like anybody in Washington state," Woodard said. "There's nothing out of the ordinary about her."

She said Simmons also seems like a really nice guy and that they seem to get along well. Woodard called her nephew outgoing and energetic.

They're part of a large family that homesteaded near the Toutle River and other sites in south-central Washington. Smiley went to high school in Castle Rock and now works in medical billing, as well as doing some part-time photography work.