Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Real Name: David Gordon Smith
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Murder, Escape
Missing Since: October 28, 1985


Details: Twenty-five-year-old David Gordon Smith and another man robbed a driver's licensing station at 8am on September 1, 1978 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. Police chief J.B. Hamby, the only officer in town, responded to the robbery. After arriving at the station, he was met with gunfire. A shootout began between him and the two robbers. During this, one robber was killed and Smith was injured. Amazingly, neither women in the store were injured. However, J.B. was gravely injured by one of the robber's bullets. After Smith left the scene, J.B. went to a laundromat next door to get help. He later died from his wounds.

J.B. Hamby

Two hours after the shooting, Smith was arrested at a local hospital while he was being treated for his wounds. He was charged, tried, and convicted of J.B.'s murder after it was determined through ballistics tests that his gun was the one that killed J.B..
In June 1979, Smith began serving a life sentence. While in prison, he became a model prisoner. He was well-liked by both the prison staff and the other inmates. He gained trustee status in the prison and eventually began living in a house on the prison grounds. Also, on June 26, 1982, he was allowed to get married. In 1984, he was granted a parole hearing, claiming that he was a model prisoner and would be a model citizen. However, he was denied parole, thanks to a public outcry.
For another year, Smith remained a model prisoner. Then, on October 28, 1985, a prison guard discovered that he was missing. Authorities believe that he was picked up by his wife, Jo Beth, and they vanished together. It was discovered that a week before the escape, she had closed her bank account, sold her furniture, and borrowed $1,000 from friends.
In February 1986, the Smiths were spotted at a gas station in Arkansas, but they once again disappeared and have not been seen since.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 7, 1992 episode.

Smith after his 1993 arrest

Results: Captured. After the case was aired again in March 1993, Smith was arrested. An anonymous tipster told authorities that he was working as a service manager at a automobile dealership in Spearfish, South Dakota, and using the name Gary Johnson. After his arrest, he readily admitted his true identity. Jo Beth was also located unharmed. He was returned to a maximum security prison in Oklahoma and convicted of escape charges. He received an addition four years for the escape charges. He was denied parole in 2008.
Jo Beth passed away in 2003. J.B.'s brother, David, passed away in 2017.