Family Reflects on Recent Developments of 13-Year-Old Lewis County Cold Case

[image] Pamela Smith, daughter of Maxine Stalnaker and sister of Mary Friend who both went missing in 1999, reflects on recent developments in the 13-year-old cold case, including the arrest of nephew, Joseph Metz.

A break in a 13-year-old cold case in the disappearances of two Lewis County woman has brought a mix of emotions for residents, law enforcement, and family members.

December 1, 1999: A date that would change Pamela Smith's life forever.

"I could have probably saved my mom. I know everybody tells me that I shouldn't think that way, but I do. I feel guilty because I'm alive," said Smith.

Her mother and sister - Maxine Stalnaker and Mary Friend - vanished from Lewis County.

"No, they wouldn't leave without telling me," said Smith, in a 1999 interview with WBOY.

After law enforcement found Friend's car a few days after her disappearance and then located the women's purses in a lake three years later, the progression of the case slowed.

It wasn't until nearly 14 years later, that an arrest was finally made, an arrest that brought Smith heartache once again. Her nephew, Joseph Metz, was arrested September 18 in connection with the disappearances. 

"I stood behind Joe because I nearly raised Joe and Mark. And I kept thinking, 'Well, Mary would want me to do this for her boys,' but I never thought I'd be betrayed," said Smith.

When Smith got the call from authorities, she didn't know how to feel.

"I wanted this day to come for my mom and sister, but after it got here, I didn't realize how devastating it could be. I feel hatred, I feel empty, I feel guilty," said Smith.

There are still questions to be answered, feelings to take in, and wounds to be healed, but Smith is getting there. She continues to hope that justice will be served.

"I didn't think I was ever this strong to come this far, but every night I prayed that something would break loose, that they would find them, or find something," Smith said.

Smith expressed her gratitude for the timeless efforts of the sheriff's departments from both Lewis and Harrison counties.

Two other men were also arrested September 19 in connection with the cold case. Learn more here.

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