March 18, 2010 in Region

Child’s body found during search for WA boy, mom

Donna Gordon Blankinship Associated Press
 
Steve Bloom photo

Members of the Thurston County sheriff’s dive team search a Puget Sound beach Monday, March 15, 2010, in Olympia where a van reportedly driven by Silverdale resident Shantina Smiley was found.
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE — A child’s body washed up on an island in Puget Sound on Thursday, and law enforcement officials said it could be an 8-year-old boy who went missing with his mother last weekend.

Lt. Chris Mealy of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said he got a call from Pierce County officials Thursday afternoon saying they were responding to a report that a child’s body washed up on Fox Island, southwest of Tacoma.

The island is about 12 miles north of the remote Olympia beach where Azriel Carver and his mother, 29-year-old Shantina “Kat” Smiley, apparently abandoned a minivan Saturday.

Mealy says it’s entirely possible the body is Carver’s.

“The Dana Passage goes right up that way,” Mealy said, referring to a tidal system between Olympia and Tacoma.

Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said there was a “strong probability it is Azriel based on the clothing description and what we see at the scene.”

The minivan Smiley was driving was found Sunday, partially submerged with its doors open. A wallet containing her driver’s license, some cash and credit cards was found in the van, but neither she nor her son was anywhere in sight.

Two mismatched shoes, a partially full and corked wine bottle, an inhaler and an orange ball have washed ashore since the van was found. Mealy said all the items apparently belonged to the boy or his mother.

People in boats, planes and on foot, as well as divers, have been searching the Boston Harbor area for the pair since Sunday.

Mealy said if the woman and her son went into the water of Puget Sound, they could be anywhere in the region because of the ferocity of the current.

Smiley was heading from her home in Silverdale to her stepfather’s house in southwest Washington when she and her son vanished Saturday night. Silverdale is about 16 miles west of Seattle, across Puget Sound.

Besides searching the area, investigators have been looking at phone records and talking to people who know Smiley or her son or may have met her as she drove through the back roads of Washington state Saturday night. Her fiance, Robb Simmons, told authorities she was a recovering alcoholic who relapsed last week.

Mealy said there was no indication that a crime took place inside Smiley’s 2005 Dodge Caravan.

A woman who answered Simmons’ cell phone Thursday afternoon said he was not available. Phone calls and e-mails to several of Smiley’s relatives were not immediately returned.

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