Despite having no evidence to prove that missing Orlando mother Michelle Parker has been killed, Parker's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the father of Parker's two children, Dale Smith. Parker went missing in 2011 after leaving the children with Smith.
According to a story published recently in the Orlando Sentinel, the civil suit has been dismissed by a judge but the family has been encouraged to re-file the suit. The Parker family believe that Smith murdered Parker though he has never been arrested in connection with the case.
Parker's disappearance has garnered national attention over the last several years and authorities continue to search for the young woman. Foul play is certainly probable but with no proof that she was murdered and no suspects under arrest, this civil suit may face insurmountable challenges unless more facts about the case are revealed.
In a criminal trial, a jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect is guilty of the crime they are charged with. In a civil case, on the other hand, the burden of proof is not quite as high but certain details cannot be overlooked. The family will likely re-file their lawsuit but it may be doomed to dismissal again unless they can gather more evidence and provide essential details. Such details could lead to an arrest.
Other judges involved in the case have determined that Parker is dead but whether or not Smith was involved, and how she may have been killed, are still mysteries. It is possible that a wrongful death civil suit against Smith may be successful even if he is never arrested and Parker is never found but the likelihood of success is quite low.