High-profile Orlando attorney Mark NeJame held a news conference at his downtown office Tuesday afternoon, 24 hours after he was hired to defend one of the most talked about men in America, Dale Smith II.
Smith is the prime suspect in the disappearance of his ex-fiance, Michelle Parker, a mother of three from Geneva.
Nejame made the point over and over to the media who attended – Dale Smith is innocent and simply taking care of his three and half year old twins, a boy and a girl, while the search continues for Parker each day.
NeJame also described his client as a caring father who wants the best for his children and their mother.
“He just wants her found,” NeJame told reporters.
The children’s mother has been missing now for 12 days, and Smith was the last person to see her alive, police say.
Just this afternoon, DCF removed the children from their father’s custody after an emergency court order. An emergency hearing could take place as early as Wednesday morning
Michelle Parker’s parents have said all along they were anxious to see their grandchildren.
Meanwhile, as Smith remains a suspect, he has not been arrested.
“You don’t have evidence,” NeJame proclaimed, banging his fist on a table. “There’s not enough evidence to arrest him.”
Smith has spoken with Orlando Police, NeJame said, on three separate occasions.
“He chose to speak to the police, not to the media, and he doesn’t have to speak with the media,” NeJame said. “He is cooperating.”
Much has been said about Smith’s refusal to take a polygraph during this massive investigation. NeJame made the point that even the Orlando Police Department does not make its own employees take a polygraph during an investigation.
“We live in America where there’s a presumption of innocence. He doesn’t have to take a polygraph. It’s not admissible in court. They’re not scientifically reliable. The police leaked this to the press like it’s a big deal,” NeJame said.
The family of Michelle Parker has now hired the law firm Morgan and Morgan to represent them. A spokesperson for the law firm told the media, “We are trying to help them navigate this legal process.”
Michelle Parker and Dale Smith were known to have a tumultuous relationship. Their issues were discussed on a November 17th taped episode of “The People’s Court” where the couple was arguing about a $5,000 engagement ring.
Parker’s mother, Yvonne Stewart, said, “I know that she was thrown out of cars without her shoes, her cell phone. I can confirm that.”
Parker took out a restraining order on Smith early on in the relationship. It was later dismissed. However, records show that he has a long criminal history, including reports that indicate a dishonorable discharged from the military.
Still, NeJame says, Smith is innocent and wants to find his ex-fiance.
“This is a stressful and horrendous time for him,” NeJame told the media. “He wants her found.”
NeJame said that Smith has invited the group, Texas EquiSearch, to come to Central Florida to help look for Michelle. Tim Miller, the group’s founder, is a client of NeJame’s and also assisted in the search for Caylee Anthony.
“Why would [Dale Smith] invite Texas EquiSearch in to help find Michelle if he’s guilty? What guilty person invites someone to search?” NeJame said.
No date has been set for the search teams to arrive.
“Orlando Police will head up that investigation. [Dale Smith] will not be involved,” NeJame told 10 News.
A previous reward of $50,000 was taken off the table after a Sunday deadline that expired at midnight. However, a $5,000 is still being offered.
If you know anything about the disappearance of Michelle Parker, please call 1-800-423-TIPS.