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Missing mom's cellphone offers new clues

Orlando's police chief says the investigation into the Michelle Parker disappearance remains active.
/ Source: TODAY staff and wire

On day 27 of the search for missing mom Michelle Parker, Orlando's police chief has revealed new details about the iPhone recovered from the bottom of a lake.

The lead detective in the case said they're still busy and optimistic they'll find answers for Parker's family.

The search for Parker is "still priority No. 1," said police chief Paul Rooney. "We are still following up relentlessly on tips from Crimeline, on leads we may be getting from her cellphone."

What leads exactly, Chief Rooney won't say. And despite being found under water, police say Parker's iPhone is in remarkably good shape.

Though Parker's family has scaled back their vigilance — leaving the command center where they had been camped out, vacant — police are still very much on the case.

"I'm coming up on 21 years at OPD, and this is the most massive effort I've ever been involved in," Detective Mike Moreschi said.

During a year-in-review presentation on Orlando's crime statistics, Moreschi said he's confident the three places they've looked for clues have been searched thoroughly.

"We're constantly keeping going and trying to get this family some answers, and I'm optimistic we will, despite the time that has gone by," Moreschi said.

During an interview with NBC's "Dateline" this week, Michelle Parker's mother said the discovery of the phone brought with it overwhelming feelings of despair.

"It broke my heart," mother Yvonne Stewart said. "That was my hope. They would never find that phone, and that one day she would get to it. That's when I started to think this isn't going to end well."

Rooney said he stands behind his decision to declare Dale Smith Jr. a suspect early in the investigation.

contributed to this report

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