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Lancaster father joins search for missing son

A Lancaster father headed to Olympia, Wash., on Tuesday to help in the search for his 8-year-old son and the boy's mother, according to local relatives.

Azriel Carver and his mother, Shantina Smiley, have been missing since Saturday night, authorities said. Their minivan was found Sunday under mysterious circumstances, partially submerged off a remote Puget Sound beach.

Jed Carver, the 32-year-old father, had recently re-established relations with his son and Smiley, his former girlfriend, from whom he had been estranged since their child was 2 years old, Carver's family said.

"There's a lot of questions and no answers," said Dana Carver, Jed Carver's sister. "He's flying out to Seattle, and then he has a 90-minute drive to Olympia where he will meet Shantina's fiance and help search for them."

Thurston County sheriff's officials said the 29-year-old Smiley's wallet containing her driver's license, some cash and credit cards were in the van, but the mother and son were nowhere to be found.

Saturday evening, Smiley had called Robb Simmons, her fiance, during a roadside stop on the way to her stepfather's home in Castle Rock, Wash.

Her van was found about 50 miles north of the stepfather's residence. Authorities say she might have made a wrong turn and lost her way on the remote back roads of Thurston County.

Dana Carver says she hopes that the more people who know about the missing mother and son, the better the chances that someone who knows something may come forward.

"I'm hoping someone will pick them up," Dana Carver said.

As for Western New York residents, she said, "We're asking them for lots of prayers for a positive return."

e-mail: lmichel@buffnews.com

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