Judge rules on Michelle Parker wrongful death lawsuit
By Kayla O'Brien, Web Producer -
ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
An Orlando judge on Wednesday ruled that Michelle Parker's family can re-file their wrongful death lawsuit against Parker's estranged fiancé, Dale Smith.
Parker disappeared in 2011, right after dropping off her twins at their father's house in Orlando. The judge asked for more facts regarding their wrongful death lawsuit.
"It was a good day for us," said John Dill, the attorney for Parker's family.
The family's lawyer said the judge ruled their suit can be re-filed as long as they strengthen their argument.
"I'm happy that it wasn't dismissed," said Lauren Erickson, Parker's sister. "I never thought it would be dismissed."
Parker's family was inside the hearing room at the Orange County Courthouse, but Smith wasn't there. He wasn't legally required to attend the hearing. Smith is the prime suspect in her disappearance, but he has never been charged. He also now has custody of her twins.
"There's an extreme lack of fairness," said Erickson. "We had four people taken from us that day. I lost my oldest nephew. I lost my niece and my nephew that are the twins. I lost my sister."
Tom Sadaka, Smith's attorney, argued the lawsuit should be dismissed because of a lack of evidence.
Parker's family hopes forcing Smith to take the stand will give them answers.
"He has the option to plead the fifth," said Erickson. "And if he chooses to plead the fifth, in my opinion, guilty people plead the fifth."
"Obviously it happened in November 2011 and they still don't know what happened," said Dill. "They just want answers like any family would."
"I'm never going to give up on my sister," said Erickson. "None of us will ever give up on my sister."