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Inside the hunt for bartender who vanished amid speculation ‘ a patron may have been kidnapped her’

A bartender mother-of-three who went missing the same day she appeared on an episode of The People’s Court may have been kidnapped by an infatuated patron, according to a new documentary focusing on her disappearance. 

Michelle Parker, 33, of Orlando was last seen November 17 2011 dropping her three-year-old twins off at the home of ex-fiancé Dale Smith.

Their legal quarrel over a $5,000 engagement ring featured in an episode of the show recorded earlier that year and was broadcast the day she vanished. 

Now HLN’s Real Life Nightmare looks at whether she was in fact taken by a customer at the popular bar, The Barn, where she worked up until her disappearance. 

Jonathan Beaton, a former Orlando reporter, told the show: ‘Michelle worked at one of the most popular bars in Sanford, Florida. It’s called The Barn. 

‘People get weird infatuations with bartenders all the time. So there was speculation that maybe there was a patron at that bar who followed her, who was stalking her, who could have possibly kidnapped her. No one knows.’

Parker had appeared on TV that same day in a dispute with her ex-fiancé Dale Smith, pictured

Michelle Parker, 33, left, of Orlando, Florida, was last seen November 17, 2011. She had appeared on TV that same day in a dispute with her ex-fiancé Dale Smith, right 

Parker was a bartender at ‘one of the most popular bars’ in Sanford, The Barn, pictured. There is speculation may have been kidnapped by an infatuated patron, according to a new documentary focusing on her disappearance

Parker’s mother Yvonne Stewart said in 2015: ‘It’s agony not knowing what happened to your child.’ 

‘I don’t want to find her dead. I want to find her alive,’ said Parker’s father, Brad.

On the episode of courtroom series ‘The People’s Court,’ recorded the summer before her disappearance, Parker and Smith squared off over a $5,000 engagement ring.

The show revealed a ‘violent’ history of her relationship with Smith, who had been dishonorably discharged from the Marines in 2003 following a reported court martial and military convictions for drug possession and domestic battery.

Smith was charged with domestic battery during their relationship, after which Parker filed a request for a restraining order in 2009, which was denied. 

In her filing she said he ‘smashed the passenger side window in my SUV’ and ‘took car seats out and threw them in the road’. She also alleged that he yelled to her: ‘Your day is coming.’

‘He gets pretty malicious and vindictive,’ she said of him on The People’s Court, ‘and he’s a mean person especially when he’s been drinking.’

Steve Helling, a senior writer at People, tells the new documentary: ‘For her to go missing on the very day that she was going to be on The People’s Court and make her national TV debut – that would be quite a coincidence for her to vanish on that day. 

‘And it really feels like somebody must have known that this was coming because why this day? Why not the day before? Or the day after?’

Jonathan Beaton, a former Orlando reporter, pictured, told HLN  there was speculation 'a patron at that bar could have followed Parker and possibly kidnapped her'

Jonathan Beaton, a former Orlando reporter, pictured, told HLN  there was speculation ‘a patron at that bar could have followed Parker and possibly kidnapped her’ 

On the episode of courtroom series 'The People's Court,' recorded the summer before her disappearance, Parker and Smith, pictured, squared off over a $5,000 engagement ring

On the episode of courtroom series ‘The People’s Court,’ recorded the summer before her disappearance, Parker and Smith, pictured, squared off over a $5,000 engagement ring

Smith, right, was charged with domestic battery during their relationship, after which Parker, left, filed a request for a restraining order in 2009, which was denied

Smith, right, was charged with domestic battery during their relationship, after which Parker, left, filed a request for a restraining order in 2009, which was denied

People's Court judge Marilyn Milian found in favor of Smith on the episode and ordered Parker, pictured, to pay $2,500. A friend, Angela Launer, told ABC around the time of the disappearance that Smith was known to abandon Parker in out of the way places

People’s Court judge Marilyn Milian found in favor of Smith on the episode and ordered Parker, pictured, to pay $2,500. A friend, Angela Launer, told ABC around the time of the disappearance that Smith was known to abandon Parker in out of the way places

But Smith’s former attorney, Mark Nejame, tells HLN: ‘It is odd. Those are the serendipitous things that happen in life. 

‘So it’s wholly appropriate that law enforcement would have, should have, did fully and completely absolutely investigate him from top to bottom and everybody and everything surrounding him.

‘But that came up with nothing to tie him into it.’ 

Smith had sued Parker, claiming she lost the engagement ring when she threw it at him in a fight at a Hilton hotel during a science fiction convention.

People’s Court judge Marilyn Milian found in favor of Smith on the episode and ordered Parker to pay $2,500.

A friend, Angela Launer, told ABC around the time of the disappearance that Smith was known to abandon Parker in out of the way places.

‘I know he hurt her many times – dropped her off in areas with no shoes. Took off and left her in Georgia by herself,’ Ms Launer said, describing the relationship as ‘rocky’ and ‘tense’.

Smith's former attorney, Mark Nejame said his client was not involved in his ex's disappearance

Smith’s former attorney, Mark Nejame said his client was not involved in his ex’s disappearance

Steve Helling, a senior writer at People, pictured, tells the documentary: 'For her to go missing on the very day that she was going to be on The People's Court and make her national TV debut - that would be quite a coincidence for her to vanish on that day'

Steve Helling, a senior writer at People, pictured, tells the documentary: ‘For her to go missing on the very day that she was going to be on The People’s Court and make her national TV debut – that would be quite a coincidence for her to vanish on that day’

Orlando police Chief Paul Rooney referred to Smith as the prime suspect in Parker’s disappearance, but he has never been charged. A judge gave him custody of the couple’s twin children. 

Parker also had a son from a previous relationship who was 10 years old at the time of her disappearance. He is said to he live with his father in Pennsylvania.  

The family revealed after her disappearance that Parker left a short message the day before she went missing in which she sounded normal and asked her father to make plans to call her.

‘Hey Dad, it’s about 8:40. This is Michelle on Wednesday morning,’ she said. ‘I know that you’re at work, but call me when you have lunch or you have break or the end of your day.’ 

Her black Hummer was found abandoned at an apartment complex and her cell phone was discovered underwater near a bridge, but no trace of the 33-year-old ever emerged. 

Orlando police Chief Paul Rooney referred to Smith as the prime suspect in Parker's disappearance, but he has never been charged and Parker has not been found

Orlando police Chief Paul Rooney referred to Smith as the prime suspect in Parker’s disappearance, but he has never been charged and Parker has not been found 

Parker's mom Yvonne Stewart, pictured, said in 2015 her daughter's disappearance is 'agony'

Parker’s mom Yvonne Stewart, pictured, said in 2015 her daughter’s disappearance is ‘agony’

A judge gave Smith custody of the couple's twin children. Parker also had a son from a previous relationship who was 10 years old at the time of her disappearance. He is said to he live with his father in Pennsylvania

A judge gave Smith custody of the couple’s twin children. Parker also had a son from a previous relationship who was 10 years old at the time of her disappearance. He is said to he live with his father in Pennsylvania

The family revealed after her disappearance that Parker left a short message the day before she went missing in which she sounded normal and asked her father to make plans to call her

Michelle Parker

The family revealed after her disappearance that Parker left a short message the day before she went missing in which she sounded normal and asked her father to make plans to call her

On the show, Judge Marilyn Milian told the couple: ‘You’re like drugs to each other. You’re addicted to each other.’

She decried their volatile relationship, saying that each of them needs to move on from their on-again-off again romance that has lasted since 2006.

Milian added that the pair needs to ‘grow up’ and ‘move on’ for the sake of the three-year-old twins they have together.

Ms Parker’s family reported her missing when she didn’t show up for work at 8pm at The Barn.  

REAL LIFE NIGHTMARE airs November 23, 2019, 8pm-9pm ET/PT.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk