Reachelle Marie Smith

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Top Row and Bottom Left and Center: Reachelle, circa 2006;
Bottom Right: Age-progression to age 9 (circa 2011)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: May 16, 2006 from Minot, North Dakota
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: September 10, 2002
  • Age: 3 years old
  • Height and Weight: 3'4, 40 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Light brown hair, brown eyes. Reachelle's nickname is Peanut.
  • Medical Conditions: Reachelle suffers from asthma and may be in need of medical attention.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Reachelle was last seen by her aunt and legal guardian, Stephanie Smith, at 10:30 p.m. on May 16, 2006. Reachelle was asleep on the couch at the time. When Stephanie woke up the next morning, the child was gone. Her roommate, Leigh Cowen, stated his mother had picked up Reachelle and would be keeping her for a few days. Photographs of Cowen are posted below this case summary. He was very close to Reachelle and claimed to be her father, although he wasn't related to her. Stephanie believed his story, but she became concerned as days passed with no word from either Reachelle or Cowen's mother.

    On May 22, Cowen apparently stole Stephanie's teal 1995 Ford van with North Dakota license plates numbered HAY 548 and disappeared. Stephanie called his mother at this time and discovered that Cowen's mother did not have Reachelle and had no idea where the child was. Stephanie reported her niece as a missing child at this time, and Cowen became the prime suspect in her disappearance. It was thought that he may have taken Reachelle to Kansas where his family lives, but this theory was disproven when the stolen van was located in the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge on May 23. Cowen's body was inside; he had committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. An extensive search of the area turned up no sign of Reachelle.

    Investigators are uncertain what happened to Reachelle, but they do not believe she is still alive. Cowen is still considered the prime and only suspect in her disappearance. She is missing under suspicious circumstances and her case remains unsolved.

    Cowen 1 Cowen 2
    Above Images: Leigh Cowen

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Minot Police Department
    701-852-0111

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    Source Information
    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    America's Most Wanted
    City of Minot
    Bella Online
    KX Net
    The Crime Library
    Court TV

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    Updated 3 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated August 22, 2012; age-progression updated.

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