Investigators looking for Kelsey Smith are working to digitally enhance a grainy store security video that captured the moment the 18-year-old Kansas woman was forced into her car, Smith's father said during an interview Wednesday.
“It's a longshot. It's far away and details aren't that clear yet, but I know there are at least two or three crime labs working on enhancing the tape,” said Greg Smith, appearing on TODAY by satellite from his family's home in Overland Park, Kan. “I'm confident that tape will clear up and we’ll see what is going on.”
Police secured clearer images of Kelsey Smith leaving the Overland Park Target store Saturday at 7:10 p.m.
Alone and carrying packages, Smith was wearing a pink tank top and black shorts as she passed beneath a store security camera on the way to the parking lot.
Another camera captured a distant, grainy image of Smith approaching the driver-side door of her silver, two-door 1987 Buick Regal moments later. Another person enters the picture and appears to force Smith into her car before driving away.
Smith's grandparents found the Buick in a nearby Macy's parking lot at 9:17 p.m., but there was no sign of Kelsey. Her purse was inside the car, but her cell phone and ATM card were missing.
Smith's family is understandably concerned, but they told TODAY's Ann Curry that they are confident police will find Kelsey, who planned to join her sister this fall at Kansas State University.
Smith's father, mother and sister wore “Find Kelsey” T-shirts as they spoke to Curry about the search and their hope that the public will provide the information that will help find her and lead to the apprehension of her abductor.
“Just keep her in your prayers. Kels, if you are out there watching us, we're coming,” said Smith's sister, Stevie Hockersmith. “We're not going to stop until you are home. Nothing is going to stop us from bringing her back with us.”
Police do have some leads.
Investigators are circulating security camera images of a man, who appeared to be in his 20s, who left the store without any packages just moments before Smith exited.
The man, who is lean with short dark hair and goatee, was wearing a light-colored T-shirt, baggy shorts and a watch on his left wrist.
Investigators are also trying to trace an older model Chevrolet pickup truck that entered the Target parking lot shortly after Smith’s Buick, and which left the parking lot shortly after Smith’s Buick was discovered in the Macy's lot across the street.
Missey Smith said she would be surprised if her daughter did not put up a fight.
“Kelsey is probably the feistiest of all our kids. She's bubbly,” Missey Smith said. “She loves life.”
Kelsey Smith, who graduated from high school just 12 days ago, is 120 pounds, 5-feet-6-inches with brown eyes and long brown hair. She has a small scar on the left side of her neck.
So far, rewards totaling at least $30,000 have been pledged for information about Smith's abduction.
For more information, visit www.findkelsey.com.