Family still searching for answers 10 years after man's disappearance

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SHELBY COUNTY, Ind.-- Tom Smith was on the verge of opening a new restaurant in downtown Edinburgh in the late summer of 2006 when he discovered a waitress and her boyfriend had stolen $5,000 from his checking account.

"I know for a fact that there was one check cashed that my brother found out about at the end of August that he did not write," said Alice Guy. "This check was in the boyfriend's name."

Guy said Smith likely confronted the woman's boyfriend at the Outer Limits bar on U.S. 31 in Edinburgh on Labor Day of 2006 when he was last seen alive.

"That trailer is where they were staying. The girlfriend and the Haitian guy," said Smith's sister as she stood in the front yard of his former home in the little town of Flat Rock and pointed across the street. "He was working with these people. He thought they were his friends. They were helping him at the restaurant."

Guy said instead, the couple were helping themselves to Smith's checkbook, cashing a second check made out to the boyfriend a month after their boss' disappearance for $8,000.

"I knew that he found out about this check and he was angry," said Guy. "I have a feeling that he approached this guy at the Outer Limits in Edinburgh and was going to tell him he was going to the cops."

Guy said when she entered her brother's house more than a week after he disappeared, she noticed an empty check book thrown haphazardly on Smith's bed and the electrical wires cut and missing from three appliances in such a way that they might be used to bind someone's hands.

Later in September, a Johnson County tow truck driver recalled that he found Smith's car abandoned in the parking lot of a Franklin apartment complex where witnesses said they spotted four men who resembled either the waitress' boyfriend or one of Smith's friends.

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This undated photo provided by the Myrtle Beach, S.C., Police Department shows Brittanee Drexel. Authorities in South Carolina are holding a news conference Wednesday, June 8, 2016, to talk about the case of the New York teen who disappeared during a 2009 spring break trip to Myrtle Beach. (Myrtle Beach Police Department via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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FBI Special Agent in Charge David Thomas speaks to reporters during a news conference in McClellanville, S.C., on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. He said that the case of Brittanee Drexel of Rochester, N.Y., is now being investigated as a homicide and the agency is offering a reward of $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Drexel was 17 when she was last seen at a hotel in nearby Myrtle Beach, S.C., in April 2009. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
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Guy said her brother would have opened his door up to a friend at his home.

"I really think that he was set up," said Guy, who recalled that neighbors called Shelby County sheriff's deputies in the days after the disappearance and, "told them, 'Someone's in that house with flashlights.'"

The waitress and the boyfriend have been questioned by investigators, said Guy, and the man is serving prison time on a forgery conviction not related to the Smith case.

"The checks I found out through the talk of the town. The town has so much information," said Guy. "Most of the answers lie with the guy with the checks. He gives a little bit every now and then but he's smart and knows when to be quiet."

After ten years, Guy is frustrated by the investigation and the lack of witnesses willing to tell what they know.

"How can nobody not hear anything?" she asked.

Guy said she has posted a family reward even larger than the $1,000 Crimestoppers of Central Indiana is offering for information leading to an answer in the disappearance of Tom Smith.

If you know anything, call Crimestoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.

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