• Dad of suspect in Parker case faces drug charges

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    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.,None - The father of the prime suspect in the disappearance of Michelle Parker was arrested on drug charges in Orange County.

    A year-and-a-half ago, arrest documents show sheriff's deputies found a 5-foot-tall marijuana plant in a shed, a bag of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in Dale Smith Sr.'s home.

    Officials said 64-year-old Smith Sr. was charged with posession of marijuana, posession of drug paraphernalia, and selling or manufacturing a controlled substance.

    According to court records, an arrest warrant was issued at the beginning of December, but Smith Sr. was not arrested until January 3.

    After Parker disappeared in November, investigators raided his house on Rose Boulevard, looking for clues.

    One week later, the State Attorney's Office issued a warrant for Smith Sr.'s arrest in the year-and-a-half-old drug case.

    WFTV asked legal expert Bill Sheaffer whether he thought the timing of the charges was more than coincidental.

    "Obviously it has something to do with the disappearance of Michelle Parker," Sheaffer said. "That may enable law enforcement to get the family perhaps to talk about the disappearance of Michelle Parker in order to improve their position on this third-degree felony charge."

    Smith Sr. has since bonded out of jail and is back home.

    Smith Sr. is the father of Dale Smith Jr., the man who police say is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Michelle Parker. She has been missing for nearly two months.  She disappeared after an episode of The People's Court where she and Smith Jr. fought over her lost engagement ring.

    In a December court hearing, Smith Jr. was given custody of the couples' 3-year-old twins. Officials with the Department of Children and Families said they are investigating the circumstances of the arrest to determine if it compromised the safety of the children.

    "You've got a bad drug deal going down, you've got a drive-by shooting, and my grandkids are over there. This guy is older than me.  He should be smarter than that." said Michelle Parker's father, Brad Parker.

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