• Texas EquuSearch will not aid in missing mom search

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla.,None - The founder of Texas EquuSearch Tim Miller said on Friday that the search-and-rescue group will not aid in the search for missing mother Michelle Parker. Meanwhile, dive teams began searching in a new pond near Oakridge Road.

    Miller is on a plane back to Texas after flying into Orlando on Thursday at the request of prime suspect Dale Smith Jr.'s attorney.

    Parker, a mother of three, was last seen on Nov. 17 after dropping off her 3-year-old twins with Smith, who is their father.

    The last time Miller was in Orlando, he said he spent a lot of time and money looking for Caylee Anthony in 2008.

    Miller said he would only stay if he felt law enforcement and volunteers needed his help.  (Watch full interview with Miller here)

    Meanwhile, dive teams began searching in a pond near Rose Boulevard and Tahiti Road on Friday. (See map)  Investigators said they have ended their search in Lake Ellenor, near the area of Oak Ridge Road where Parker’s cell phone stopped transmitting more than two weeks ago.

    "It's close to home. I can't imagine if they do find her back there. I was in shock when I heard everybody was back there looking for her,” said neighbor Michelle Politi.  

    Smith, who is Parker’s ex-fiance, has not helped in-person at the search, claiming he was busy watching the twins.

    Meanwhile, a judge's decision to leave the twins in Smith’s custody is still drawing criticism.

    The twins were taken into protective custody by the Department of Children and Families earlier this week after police named Smith the prime suspect in the case. Parker also has an 11-year-old son, who is not Smith's child.

    During a custody hearing on Wednesday, DCF told the judge about Smith's violent criminal history and repeated accusations of domestic abuse. But the judge ruled there wasn't enough evidence to remove the children from Smith's care, but if more evidence comes forward, the court will revisit the issue.

    WFTV’s legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said the judge followed the letter of the law.

    “The law requires the evidence show that there's a substantial and imminent risk of abuse to the children,” he said.

    Seconds before Smith walked into court for the custody hearing, he knocked an ABC News photographer to the ground.

    DCF said it added that incident to its case against Smith, and the agency's investigation of him is not over.

    Two weeks ago, Parker disappeared after she appeared on a taped episode of "The People's Court" with Smith in a dispute over her lost engagement ring. During the episode, Parker also accused Smith of being so physical she once tried to get a restraining order against him.

    A few hours after the episode aired, Parker dropped the twins at Smith's condo and has not been seen since. Parker's SUV was found the day after she vanished.

    Police urge anyone with information about Parker's whereabouts to call 800-423-8477.

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