*Note – Because WataugaRoads.com covered this due to a heavily-traveled road in Boone shut down at the time, here is a final update from Boone Police. Press Release from Boone PD*
“For several days after Anna Smith’s disappearance this community was unsettled, due to speculation that Anna’s disappearance and death might have been the result of foul play, but after an exhaustive investigation, we have concluded that Anna Smith took her own life. This has been a difficult and emotional process for everyone involved, however, our search for the truth has been extensive. This family deserves to know the facts surrounding what happened to Anna and we extend our condolences to the Smith family.” – Dana B. Crawford – Chief of Police
On September 13, 2014, the body of Appalachian State University student, Anna Smith, was found in a wooded area off of Popular Grove Road in Boone. Prior to this discovery, Appalachian State University Police and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations had been investigating Smith's disappearance. Smith had been reported missing by her college roommate on September 3, 2014. Because Smith was found off campus, the Boone Police Department took over the investigation. Boone Police Detectives continued to call on the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and Appalachian State University Police Department for assistance during this investigation. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation also assisted with this case.
“Since Miss Smith was reported missing, this investigation has involved law enforcement agencies on the local, state and federal levels, several woodland area searches, and over 100 potential witness interviews. Boone Police Officers and NC SBI Agents also conducted an area canvas which included the area residents and the employees of nearby businesses.” – Lt. Chris Hatton – Investigations Commander
On November 25, 2014, the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office released an autopsy and toxicology report from the Smith investigation. This report indicated the cause of death as, “hanging,” and the manner of death as suicide.
“Separate and apart from the NC Medical Examiner's investigation, the information learned and the evidence collected during this lengthy and thorough investigation has led our agency to the same conclusion as the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office.” – Lt. Chris Hatton – Investigations Commander
The Boone Police Department would like to thank every citizen and law enforcement officer that assisted in this case for their assistance, cooperation, and understanding as we searched for the truth in this investigation.