QUEENS, N.Y. (PIX11) — Terrence Smith, a 33-year-old from Queens, was supposed to come home from a trip to Fredericksburg, Virginia, on Oct. 30. Instead, he stopped communicating with his family and his bank account was cleaned out.
“To me, it doesn’t make sense,” his older brother, Michael Perry, told PIX11 News Friday. “What happened? Why couldn’t he just come home?”
The last image the family has seen of Smith is a surveillance photo from a Target store near Fredericksburg, which showed Smith buying groceries and toilet paper for a female friend he went to visit. The two have had an “on and off” relationship since high school, according to Smith’s family.
“From what we understand, he’s been ‘Cash Apping’ her money,” said Shaniquah Perry, Smith’s sister.
But Smith’s family became alarmed when they accessed his bank records, which are linked to his mother’s account. They were depleted within days of his arrival in Virginia. Smith had traveled there by Amtrak.
Smith’s sister-in-law, Diana Perry, explained that two family members living in Virginia went to the female friend’s house in Fredericksburg to ask about Smith’s whereabouts.
“The first version was, he left with a girl,” Diana Perry recounted. “The second was he took an Uber, the third she mentioned to the police department was he took Amtrak to go back home. And then her son, who was present at the time, said he (Smith) went out the back door to the woods.”
Smith, who was in great physical shape and often went to the gym, was ecstatic about a recent job promotion when he received certification as a fire safety inspector at the construction management company where he works in Manhattan.
“Once he got it, you could tell the look on his face was joy,” Michael Perry said. “He was very happy.”
The older brother traveled to Fredericksburg earlier this week, as the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office was looking into the disappearance.
“I just searched the woods, searched the hotels that were in the area, putting up signs, asking questions,” Perry said.
Terrence Smith’s family saw text messages on his phone that seemed suspicious to them.
There was a photo of two women they didn’t know. His female friend in Virginia told Smith’s sister he was in contact with the women.
“She was saying they probably went to the Motel 6,” Diana Perry recalled.
Perry added, “For him not to return on the 30th is out of character. He’s always a responsible person; he always showed up to work!”
Terrence Smith’s family said he had been living with his mother, who is visually impaired, in Queens. He had attended junior high school and high school in Virginia, which is where he met the female friend.
Last year, Michael Perry said the woman thought she might have been pregnant by Smith, but it turned out to be a false alarm.
“I just said, ‘You know what, leave her alone, man,'” the brother remembered.
PIX11 News left a message for the detective investigating the Smith case in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and is awaiting a response.
Michael Perry wants people to know how good a person his brother is.
“He’d help babysit my oldest daughter at the last second, when we needed him,” Perry said. “If you needed help, he would help you.”