Cops at 'Square One' in Hunt for Missing Alabama Pastor's Wife

Six days after an Alabama minister's wife disappeared from a religious conference in Louisiana, police say they haven't gotten very far in their search.

"We're still at square one," Mark Natale, spokesman for the Bossier City Police Department, told on Thursday. "[We] haven't received any notification from anybody who may have had contact with her."

Mary Byrne "Beth" Smith, 30, disappeared March 24 from Living Proof Live, a women's religious conference, held at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, La., in the northern part of the state. Smith, the wife of the Rev. Jason Lee Smith of the First Baptist Church in Summerdale, Ala., had traveled to the conference with a friend.

Bossier City police have followed up on several fruitless leads and are reviewing videotapes of the crowd from the conference, which drew about 14,000 women.

"We have not located anything on those tapes that would give us reason for concern as far as foul play being involved in her disappearance, but still, as from Day One, we still have not had anything to indicate that she was the victim of foul play," Natale said. "We haven't ruled anything out because frankly we just don't know what happened to her."

This isn't the first time someone has disappeared from the CenturyTel Center, Natale said.

"We've had people at events who have been reported missing but they're usually found a short time later," he said. "But nothing on this magnitude."

Smith, a mother of two, at 11 a.m. told the friend who accompanied her to the conference that she was going to a concession stand, but she never returned to her seat. The conference ended at noon and the friend waited in her car for two hours before reporting her missing, police said.

At the time of Smith's disappearance, evangelist Beth Moore was speaking on the topic of living a life of spiritual victory by growing in one's faith in God. Moore said in a statement that she had prayed with Smith's husband since the woman's disappearance.

"I am tremendously concerned about Mary Byrne Smith and her family," Moore said. "We have never had anything like this happen before at an event but, even if we had, I can't imagine we'd be any less moved."

Smith's husband met with police in Bossier City on Monday and returned Tuesday to his town in coastal Alabama.

A man who answered the telephone at his church Wednesday declined to comment to on the advisement of investigators.

Natale declined to comment on Smith's personal life.

"There's really nothing that I can discuss information that we have regarding Ms. Smith," he said.

A spokesman for Lifeway Christian Resources, the group that sponsors the Living Proof Live conferences, said they had cooperated with police.

"The investigation is pretty much in their hands," Chris Turner said. "For our part, just being prayerful for her and her family — just hoping some good news turns up really quickly on all that."

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.

"Even the slightest information could be helpful in this, as with any, missing persons case," Natale said.