Name: Dashad Laquinn Smith aka Sage Smith
Last seen: November 20, 2012
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Status: Still Missing
Dashad Laquinn Smith was born male and previously identified as gay, but started identifying as a transgender woman, using the name Sage Smith before her disappearance.
Sage is an African-American female with black hair and brown eyes, she is between 5’8 – 5’11 tall and weighs 130lbs.
She had long hair usually worn in braids but also wore wigs and had her ears and eyebrows pierced.
Sage was last wearing a black jacket, dark gray sweatpants, a black scarf, gray and black rain boots with pink and purple lining, and possibly a bleached hooded sweatshirt.
Sage Smith was born Dashad Laquinn Smith on December 13, 1992, to parents Latasha Dennis and Dean Smith. Her parents separated when she was still a newborn, and her father went to jail on drug charges.
Sage’s extended family includes step-siblings as her parents did remarry new partners. She grew closer to her paternal grandmother who primarily raised her in Garrett Square Charlottesville, Virginia. Sage eventually ended up returning to her mother’s care, before being placed into the foster system after her mother was deemed unfit to raise her.
Sage Smith identified as a transgender female, while she grew comfortable with her identity she encountered harassment and bullying from others.
She graduated from high school in 2011 and moved into an apartment on Harris Street with two roommates in March 2012. She worked at a hair salon and was taking classes at a cosmetology school to become a professional hairdresser. She was described as a charismatic and energetic person.
Sage Smith was last seen on November 20th, 2012, walking in the 500 Block of West Main Street in Charlottesville, Virginia at 6:30 p.m.
Sage had a date planned with a man named Erik McFadden, who she had met online and had plans to return home later that evening. The two made plans to meet near the Amtrak station. The pair had been exchanging texts and calls for weeks and had met before. Sage had accepted money in exchange for the promise to keep herself a secret from McFadden’s girlfriend.
Sage has never been heard from again. She was reported missing by her family after she missed Thanksgiving dinner two days later. Since her disappearance, all calls made to her cell phone were sent directly to voicemail, which is unusual for her as she always kept it charged and turned on.
An investigation was started by The Charlottesville Police Department on November 22, 2012. Despite an extensive search of Main Street, where Sage was last seen, Harris Street, and around the University of Virginia, no clue of Sage’s whereabouts were to be found.
Erik McFadden left town shortly after Sage’s disappearance, his girlfriend reported him missing on November 24th, 2012. He called the police on November 27th and spoke to them on the phone, telling them that he was in New York. He said Sage never showed up for their planned meeting and he didn’t know what happened to her. When the police told him he should return to Virginia, he hung up on them.
On November 29th, Erik’s girlfriend told police he was taking a bus back to Charlottesville and expected the police to pick him up. The next day, however, Erik’s girlfriend said he had changed his mind. He emailed his girlfriend saying Sage Smith had been blackmailing him, threatening to tell the girlfriend they had had sex. He said he did meet with Sage on the day of her disappearance, but he did not know what happened to her and that Sage “had a lot of enemies.”
Authorities still want to question Erik McFadden in person as he is considered a person of interest in Sage Smith’s disappearance. However, the last sign of him was an email he sent to his girlfriend in May 2013, from an untraceable email address. Erik McFadden’s mother and stepmother have not heard from him since 2012 and they believe he may be dead. In June 2019, his mother reported him missing to the Charlottesville Police Department.
Sage Smith’s disappearance is now being investigated as a homicide. Police also have other persons on interest; one of Sage’s roommates was caught using her food stamp card after her disappearance, and another friend was seen wearing a locket belonging to Sage, although the woman claimed her boyfriend gave it to her.
If you have any information on the disappearance of Dashad Laquinn “Sage” Smith please contact the Charlottesville Police Department 434-970-3280 or call the WE HELP THE MISSING -TIP LINE at 866-660-4025.
Local investigators have teamed up with the FBI in their search for answers, and a $20,000 reward is being offered to anyone who provides information that may lead to finding Sage Smith’s remains or an arrest in her disappearance.