Murdered Aiken teacher's daughter no longer suspect

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News 12 at 6 o'clock; May 21, 2008

AIKEN, S.C. --- New information on the murder of an Aiken teacher found stabbed to death in her home. Her daughter, Lauren Smith, is cleared of the murder. This news comes one day after News 12 updated you on the status of the case.

Lauren is excluded, but some of Ann's other families members are making solving this case very difficult.

Investigators are frustrated. All they want to do is clear those closest to Ann Smith of her murder and find out who is responsible for it. But, that's proving to be difficult because they're keeping quiet, at least to investigators and to News 12.

It's an emotional case, a mother of 3 and middle school teacher dead. Now, investigators are clearing Ann Smith's daughter Lauren of the murder, along with friends, co-workers and acquaintances that have come forward to the police. But, that's it, leaving lots of questions for Wilson Smith, Ann's estranged husband, and her 2 sons.

"They're not cooperating. They're not coming up here. They're not speaking with investigators. They're not helping us find the killer in this case," says Lt. David Turno with Aiken Dept. of Public Safety.

In fact, investigators say they haven't talked with them since two days after Smith was found in her house, dead.

"We're at somewhat of a stand-still as far as the family is concerned because they're no longer cooperating," says Lt. Turno.

Not just with investigators, but with News 12 too. We have tried time and time ago to talk with Wilson Smith. On Wednesday, we were told to leave his home. Then, we went to Twin Dragons Martial Arts and Fitness where Smith works as the chief karate instructor. We were told he didn't want to talk with us there either.

"They're not even calling to find out how the investigation is going," says Lt. Turno.

Frustrating for Turno and his team of investigators, especially since this is something completely new to them.

"Quite frankly, this has never happened to us before in a case we don't have a suspect. We're merely trying to exclude people from this investigation," says Lt. Turno.

Ultimately, it boils down to this for Turno and his team, "Ms. Smith, obviously a beloved teacher, mother, didn't deserve to die this way. We are doing our best to find her killer."

So, the search continues but investigators really need the help from the other family members that are not helping investigators out. Lt. Turno tells News 12, some of them have hired attorneys and talked to them, but again, not the people they want to talk with.

News 12 also has a copy of the Last Will and Testament for Ann Smith, along with divorce papers she filed in the Aiken County Courthouse. In the divorce papers, Ann says that Wilson physically assaulted her several times.

News 12 has also found out, Wilson has been practicing martial arts for 20 years and is a third degree black belt. Again, though, he is not a suspect in this murder.

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