WOODLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- An Aroostook County family's struggle for justice is now in its fourth year. Police continue to work the case, and the reward of $55,000 is the largest in state history. Still, the murder of Darrel Smith remains unsolved.
Barbara Smith says the support of her family and friends over the past 4 and a half years has helped her cope with a heartache that never ends. Barb's husband Darrel was killed in February of 2008 in his workshop next door to their home. Darrel Smith was alone when someone went to his sawmill on Thomas Road in Woodland, robbed him and then shot him.
Barbara still has no answers. And that she says is frustrating. "You gotta be frustrated after that much time goes by and no closure and it doesn't seem to be making progress. But I will give the detective credit that has gone through every little hear say or tidbit we hear we turn over to them. Which is what I need the public to do."
Darrel's sister Donna Hale is hoping someone will come forward with a key piece to end her family's pain. Hale says, "If somebody had any kind of information and they might not think it's relevant, but it could be. We don't know what's holding this case up so I would encourage anybody to come forward and give that evidence no matter how small you might think it might be."
Maine State Police detective Adam Stoutamyer has been on the case since day one. He understands how the family feels. He said," We follow up on every lead we get and we have had hundreds over the years. I can understand their frustration. This is any family's nightmare to have to experience a loss of a family member. It's bad enough to have to deal with the loss of a family member by an expected way, whether its natural causes or what have you, but to have someone ripped out of your lives in a violent manner like that, it's a very difficult thing to deal with".
Stoutamyer says it looks like robbery is the motive. Smith's wallet and other items were taken that day. Darrel's brother Wayne says he believes who ever did this knows the area and knew his brother.
Detective Stoutamyer says he knows there is someone out there that has information that could help break this case. He's just not sure if they are being loyal to someone or perhaps concerned that they too could be charged. He said, "Whether it is a safety concern or or they feel that there's some sort of a risk by coming forward of some sort. Maybe they feel that all the information they have by not coming forward could get them in trouble with law enforcement, which it wouldn't. But I think that a lot of the times in life the right thing, the choice to do the right thing is more often than not the hard thing to do, but it is the right thing to do, truly."
Barbara has now made a memorial garden for Darrel in the backyard where the saw mill once stood. The family is hoping that the 55 thousand dollar reward raised by family, friends and neighbors will help get the case solved.
The family told us that they are trying to be patient because it would be even worse if they charged someone, take it to trial but don't get a conviction.
If anyone has any information on the Darrel Smith death you can call the Houlton State Police Barracks at 532-5400