Cops Believe Missing Preacher's Wife May Have Disappeared on Her Own

The missing wife of an Alabama preacher may have disappeared on her own accord to grapple with personal demons, Louisiana police said Thursday, as her husband spoke publicly for the first time since she vanished nearly two weeks ago.

Mary Byrne "Beth" Smith may have left to start a new life, said Bossier City Police Chief Mike Halphen at a press conference Thursday.

“There are no absolutes in a case like this and we will continue to look at it as if there were foul play involved,” the Shreveport Times quoted Halphen as saying. “We feel like that if she were under duress it wouldn’t have been hard for her to get help."

The 30-year-old wife of Baptist minister Rev. Jason Smith disappeared from a religious conference March 24 in Bossier City, La.

During the press conference, Halphen painted a picture of a troubled young woman, according to the Times report.

Click here to read the Shreveport Times story.

Detectives learned that Mary Smith was about to lose her job for failing a drug test, Halphen said.

She had asked fellow teachers for pain medication, including highly addictive Loritabs, according to the Times.

Her "strange behavior" prompted the drug test, which came back positive, Halphen said.

Halphen also said that the woman had told colleagues that she was divorced and was a bad role model for her children, aged 7 and 10.

Mary Smith faces no criminal charges, the police chief said.

Her husband delivered a brief statement Thursday in front of his church, the First Baptist Church of Summerdale, Ala., accompanied by his wife's father, Donnie Byrne of Fairhope, Ala., according to a report in the Mobile Press-Register.

"Beth, if you're out there, we miss you. I miss you, the kids miss you," Jason Smith said. "We just desperately want you home."

"If you call us, we'll come," Byrne added. "We'll come get you."

Click here to read the Mobile Press-Register report.

Mary Smith was attending Living Proof Live, a women's religious conference at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City with a friend when she disappeared.

Halphen asked Mary Smith to call or e-mail with her whereabouts.

“We just want to know if she’s OK,” Halphen said. “She can contact us or a member of her family.”

Mary Byrne Smith is described as a 5-foot-3-inch-tall white woman with brown hair and brown eyes. She weighs about 100 pounds and has a tattoo of the sun on her back.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Bossier City Police Department at 318-741-8605.'s Sara Bonisteel contributed to this report.