BUNNLEVEL, N.C. (WNCN) – Federal investigators said it’s still not entirely clear what happened to a mother and her daughter in the five-plus years they were missing from Fayetteville before being found alive Tuesday in Harnett County.
Investigators said they found Amber Renaye Weber, who was 21 at the time of her disappearance, and her daughter, Miracle Smith, who was 1 at the time of her disappearance, Tuesday at a property on Lemon Lane in Bunnlevel. Along with mother and daughter, federal officials said they found a second child Weber apparently gave birth to during the time she was missing.
Weber and Miracle had not been seen since Dec. 4, 2016, in the 1200 block of Martindale Drive in Fayetteville.
Following Tuesday’s discovery, investigators said the mother and children appeared to be in good condition, although the feds are still not exactly sure what took place during the time they were missing. The U.S. Marshals told CBS 17 they were in a trailer on a property owned — and containing multiple homes — belonging to the family of Weber’s children’s father.
Federal agents from the ATF, along with the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office, had originally gone to the property Tuesday as part of a weapons case involving Joe Smith, authorities said. They found Weber and her children in the process. Smith is facing a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The feds told CBS 17 Smith is the grandfather of Weber’s children.
This case dates back to Jan. 31, 2017, when Fayetteville police announced the missing person’s investigation after family members had not seen Weber or her daughter since December 2016. But police said the case eventually “went cold.”
Monty Weber, Amber Weber’s father, told CBS 17 in an exclusive interview Tuesday evening, prior to her disappearance, his daughter had been living with her sister, away from home, and left one night.
“Our daughter [her sister] called and said she took off in the middle of the night,” Monty Weber said. “Didn’t bring clothes or nothing, just grabbed the baby. We figured somebody came and picked her up.”
Monty Weber said the family initially had concerns about the safety of their daughter and her child, but eventually suspected she was, in fact, at the Harnett County property where agents found them Tuesday.
In fact, in 2018, CBS 17 reported that Weber received medical treatment in Harnett County in February 2018, but family members were never able to get in contact or locate her.
“We had no way to find out,” Monty Weber said of the time his daughter was missing. “Nobody would talk to us.”
He described the last five-plus years as “hard,” but expressed relief his daughter — and her two children — are safe.
“We’re happy,” he said. “We’d like to see our grandbabies … we’d like to see her.”
Weber and his wife said they have not seen their daughter since the discovery Tuesday. ‘
It’s not clear whether any charges related to her disappearance could be on the way. Federal agents told CBS 17 any further charges would likely come from the local level.