DETROIT – About two years after she went missing, the body of Nicole Smith was found blocks away from her family, which had never stopped searching for her.
The discovery is giving the grieving family closure, and an arrest and guilty plea is giving them justice.
The case is about a 3-year-old boy named Izaeah and his mother, who went missing in December 2016. It's also about her family, which never stopped looking for her and her ex-boyfriend, Robert Autrey, who the family describes as "pure evil."
In December 2016, Izaeah was dropped off at a police station by himself. His grandfather, Conrad Green, picked him up after seeing him on the news. No one could find Smith.
Police held Autrey for questioning, but had to let him go, but they didn't stop the investigation. They found evidence of Autrey using Smith's bridge card.
When he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and facing the possibility of life in prison, Autrey told police on Dec. 19, 2018, Smith's body could be found in an abandoned apartment on Detroit's west side.
Autrey pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
The family has closure and plans to honor and remember Smith.