DNA Testing Raises Questions In Case Of Missing Woman - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

DNA Testing Raises Questions In Case Of Missing Woman


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Police have long considered the husband, Palmer Smith, a prime suspect in the case of a missing Murfreesboro woman. DNA evidence may point to someone else.

Prosecutors asked Palmer Smith to give up two tubes of his own blood, to see if DNA evidence might link him to the disappearance of his wife, Marcie.

Smith's attorney John Norton said the tactic backfired.

"During my discussions with the TBI on Friday afternoon, some very interesting things came to light," said Norton.

Marcie Smith vanished nearly two years ago in Murfreesboro. The only hard piece of evidence in the case is the surveillance video from a Wal-Mart parking lot. It shows a man riding a bicycle away from Marcie's SUV the day she disappeared.

Norton said recent DNA testing confirms Palmer's DNA was found in the SUV. That was no surprise because he shared it with his wife, but there was more.

"There's unidentified DNA within the vehicle that the TBI does not know who it belongs too," said Norton.

In court documents Norton complained "... that the State of Tennessee is purposefully withholding valuable and exculpatory information from the defense."

Norton said a special agent told him unknown female DNA was found on the steering wheel and upon the dog leash recovered from the Lincoln Navigator.

"It could be any number of things, I guess from a dog leash to a murder weapon," said Norton.

It's unclear if Marcie Smith is even dead. A body has never been recovered.

Murfreesboro police did look after receiving a bizarre map last year supposedly leading them to Marcie's remains in West Tennessee. Nothing was found, and some thought Palmer Smith sent the letter himself.

Norton said the special agent told him testing clears his client of that.

"Palmer Smith's DNA or fingerprints for that matter were no where on the envelope or map that was contained in the envelope," said Norton.

Marcie Smith's cell phone was found dumped on the side of the road. Norton said Marcie and Palmer Smith's prints were both found on the phone, but that there may be a third print that doesn't match either one of those.

Norton's point was that police need to stop focusing on Palmer and look for another suspect. The prosecution has not made a comment publicly.

NewsChannel 5 has been told all DNA testing is not complete, and some of the unidentified samples may actually belong to Marcie Smith.

Palmer Smith is not charged with his wife's murder. He is scheduled to go to trial next week on charges that he lied to police the night his wife disappeared.

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