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Greg, Kelsey, and Missey Smith
Kelsey Smith
Greg and Missey Smith with their daughter, Kelsey

Kelsey Smith was a beautiful and passionate 18-year-old who was active in her school marching band, choir and theatre. Kelsey graduated from Shawnee Mission West High School on May 24, 2007 and was looking forward to attending Kansas State University in the fall. On June 2, 2007, just nine days after graduation, Kelsey disappeared from a department store parking lot in Overland Park, Kansas. Surveillance video shows Kelsey purchasing a gift, and then leaving the store before she disappeared in broad daylight. Approximately three hours later, her car was found abandoned in a mall parking lot across the street from the store. Further surveillance videos from the department store identified a person of interest leaving the store, Kelsey being forced into her car and a suspicious vehicle. The effort to find Kelsey grew so large the volunteers were referred to as "Kelsey’s Army." On June 6, her body was found in a wooded area near Longview Lake in southern Jackson County, about 18 to 20 miles from where she was abducted. The person accused was arrested the same day. Kelsey's killer pled guilty to all four charges of kidnapping, rape, sodomy and murder on July 23, 2008.

Beyond local Kansas City news coverage, Kelsey's disappearance and murder received prominent national media attention, due in large part to her parents, Greg and Missey Smith. Greg has 17 years of law enforcement experience. On July 7, 2007, they established the Kelsey Smith Foundation to honor their daughter by empowering families, friends, and communities to proactively protect one of its most precious resources, namely its youth and young adults; to develop, implement, and provide targeted prevention education, instruction and resources, including shared information and techniques, focused on safeguarding youth and young adults; to recommend and provide advocacy programs and resources should a youth or young adult be missing or abducted; and to develop and assist in the development of programs and projects that has both state-wide and national applicability and impact.

link arrow Kelsey's Army: The Kelsey Smith Foundation