• No new leads in search for missing mom, Texas EquuSearch in Orlando

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    ORLANDO, Fla.,None - The search for missing woman Michelle Parker continued Thursday in the Lake Ellenor area but there were no new leads.

    Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller flew into Orlando at the request of lead suspect Dale Smith II's attorneys.

    Miller's group has been to Orlando before, having searched in vain for Caylee Anthony in 2008.

    "I hate coming to Orlando," Miller said.

    The group was contacted earlier in the week by Mark Nejame, Smith's attorney.

    "I felt like our Florida members were doing a good job searching with law enforcement. Now, the suspect's attorney, Mark Nejames, asked me to get involved. Dale wanted to be involved, apparently, so we'll see how that works out," Miller said.

    Texas Equusearch may not be able to actually search for anything. WFTV reporter Lori Brown tried contacting Miller on Thursday, but got no response.

    On Thursday night, Parker's co-workers at The Barn in Sanford continued to collect tips to give to Parker's family and keep the search going.

    "None of our bartenders want to take her spot," said co-worker Erica Thims. "We want her to be here. We are waiting for her to come back and fill her own spot."

    At the Lake Ellenor search site, not even all-terrain vehicles could get through the thick brush choked with thorns and vines.

    Orange County sheriff's deputies and Orlando police officers were searching the Lake Ellenor area because it is where the last ping was recorded from Parker's cellphone on the day she was reported missing.


    "It's close to home," Michelle Politi, a resident of the Lake Ellenor area, said. "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."

    Although the woods could hide a body, it's still an urban area with buildings and apartment complexes that skirt the treeline.

    "It's pretty scary that someone is probably in that pond, where I live, " Politi said.

    Smith has not helped in-person at the search, claiming he is busy watching the 3-year-old twins he has with Parker, 33. A judge ruled that the children should be returned to Smith, who is their father and Parker's ex-fiance, on Wednesday.

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

    "I turned the babies back over today," said Parker's mother, Yvonne Stewart. "I cried like a baby until I got there."

    DCF tried to persuade the judge to take the twins away from Smith because Parker had previously accused Smith of domestic violence.

    "I consider that to be sort of a red herring to get the court less persuaded by testimony that the mother gave to other people because, for obvious reasons, the mother cannot be here today," said DCF attorney Joe Iuzzolino.

    However, the judge said 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.

    "I just really, really want her kids to grow up with her," said Stewart.

    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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