Missing Washington Boy Drowned Accidentally

Shantina Smiley and Azriel Carver are seen in an undated photo.

Shantina Smiley and Azriel Carver are seen in an undated photo.  (KOMO-TV)

SEATTLE - A day after a boy's body was found on an island beach in Puget Sound, authorities searched unsuccessfully for his missing mother.

"No, we haven't heard of anything being found," Thurston Co. sheriff's Lt. Chris Mealy said Friday night.

Thurston County had a boat in the water Friday looking for Shantina "Kat" Smiley, 29, of Silverdale. She and her 8-year-old son, Azriel Carver, were last seen Saturday night, and her partially submerged minivan was found Sunday on a remote south Puget Sound beach.

Azriel's body was discovered by a walker Thursday on Fox Island, southwest of Tacoma and about 18 miles north by water from where the van was found.

Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said Friday afternoon that a search plane was sent up to look for Smiley in the general area where her son's body was found.

An autopsy Friday by Dr. Sigmund Menchel, Pierce County's acting chief medical examiner, positively identified the boy, determined he had drowned and his death was an accident.

Thurston County authorities have led the search since the van was found in their jurisdiction, but Pierce County became involved once the boy's body was found in that county.

Mealy said his office planned no searches this weekend.

A wallet containing Smiley's driver's license, some cash and credit cards was found in the van. Two mismatched shoes, a partially full and corked wine bottle, an inhaler and an orange ball have washed ashore since, and Mealy said the items apparently belonged to the boy or his mother.

There was no indication that a crime took place inside Smiley's 2005 Dodge Caravan, Mealy said.

Smiley was heading from her home in Silverdale to her stepfather's house in southwest Washington when she and her son vanished. Silverdale is about 16 miles west of Seattle, across Puget Sound.

Besides searching the area, investigators have looked at phone records and talked to people who know Smiley or her son or may have seen them Saturday night. Her fiance, Robb Simmons, told authorities she was a recovering alcoholic who had relapsed last week.

Smiley was the subject of 10 complaints to the state's Child Protective Services since 2005. Three of those were investigated.

In 2005, an ex-boyfriend was arrested but not prosecuted after a report that Azriel had suffered serious physical abuse, agency spokeswoman Sherry Hill said Friday. CPS could not determine who had committed the abuse.

A March 2007 complaint that Smiley had physically abused her son was deemed unfounded.

In August 2007, the agency found that Smiley had left the boy unsupervised when she passed out from alcohol abuse, Hill said. The boy was placed with relatives while Smiley received substance abuse treatment.