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Area man reported missing

A Nevada City man who is a sixth-degree black belt in a style of Kung Fu has been reported missing to police by friends and family.

Jim Smith was reportedly last seen by his friend, Cindy Maple, on Sept. 4 at 11:45 a.m. Maple informed police of his disappearance two days later after he had not shown for prearranged plans.

Concerned, Maple went to his home. “He left his dog and two cats, did not take anything from his home, has not used his cell or bank account, and has basically vanished without a trace,” she said.



Smith’s ex-wife, Alta Sierra resident Kristi Merten, also has not seen or heard from him. They have a 9-year-old son whom Smith is responsible for two weekends a month.

Merten and Maple both said Smith’s son was important to him and it was unusual for him to just disappear. “He would not just leave his son,” Maple said.




“We didn’t speak very often. We didn’t have a very good communication going, but it is not like him to walk away from something. He never had a past of doing that,” Merten said.

Maple said she spoke with Smith both the night before his disappearance “and he was conducting business as usual.” The next morning “he was really down,” she said.

“I could see if he needed time to go think, but he is the type of person who would tell somebody,” Maple said.

Smith was born in Oregon and has been a resident of Nevada County for 14 years. He has worked for Sierra Mountain High School for several years as a campus security officer and as a martial arts instructor.

He drives a golden brown Nissan Xterra. Maple said the vehicle is easily identifiable by the two Chinese letters on the back window, seat covers with Chinese lettering on the inside, and items hanging from the mirror including necklaces and a half-moon shape.

Anyone who has seen Smith or his vehicle is asked to contact the Nevada City Police Department at 265-4700.


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