Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Terry Smith

Real Name: Terry Lynn Smith
Case: Lost Friend
Date: Summer 1974
Location: San Francisco, California


Details: John and Gerry Timpane met in 1945; they later married and had nine children (six boys and three girls) between 1953 and 1965. They enjoyed outdoor activities such as horseback riding. In summer 1967, at the ranch where they boarded their horses, they became friends with the owner, Herb Smith. He was divorced and his daughter, Terry, lived with him at the ranch. However, he felt that a ranch was not the right place for her to grow up; the Timpanes figured that they could have her live with them. He agreed to watch their horses in return.

In August 1967, Terry moved in with the Timpanes; she soon became like a member of the family. Shannon, the youngest child, felt especially close to her because they were close in age. They became like sisters; years passed, and the temporary arrangement became practically permanent. On May 2, 1972, tragedy struck when John passed away from cancer. Gerry had to go back to work as a nurse; she worked the graveyard shift because the older children could watch the younger ones at night.
However, money became a big concern with Gerry being the only supporter of the family. She realized that she would have to send Terry back to Herb. The children did not want her to leave, but it was the only way to help their financial difficulties. In summer 1974, Herb took her back to live with him; she had lived with the Timpanes for over six years.
Terry still visited during the summer for several years. The visits decreased when the Smiths moved to a different part of the state. In 1980, she visited for the last time. At the time, she was sixteen and living with her boyfriend. The Timpanes had no idea that this would be the last time they would ever see her. After that, they have not been in contact with her; they would now like to find her.

Shannon and Terry reunited

Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 27, 1993 episode.
Results: Solved. A viewer's tip led to a reunion between Terry, who was engaged and living in Lake Elsinore, California, and the Timpanes on February 5, 1993. They remain in touch.
Sadly, Gerry died in 1999 at age 72.
Links: None