Slain trucker's family still searching for killer

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, March 06, 2013

More than two years after Truman Lee Smith, a truck driver from Irondale, MO, was fatally shot during an apparent robbery while waiting to unload at a food warehouse in East St. Louis, IL, his family still has many unanswered questions. 

His mom, Jeannette Smith, also from Irondale, told Land Line on Wednesday, March 6, that every month since her son’s death in February 2011, she calls the Illinois State Police to find out if they have any new leads.

“I call because I don’t want them to forget about him,” Smith said.

She also posts a link to a story about her son’s death on all of the St. Louis area news stations each month in hopes that someone will come forward with information about her son’s death.

“One of these days someone is going to hear something and do the right thing and come forward with information,” she said. “Someday somebody’s going to talk.”

She is urging anyone who was near 26th and McCasland streets around dawn in East St. Louis on Feb. 17, 2011, who may have seen something, to come forward by calling Crime Stoppers at 866-371-TIPS or emailing any leads to CRIMETIPS@isp.state.il.us.

After the shooting, East St. Louis Police Det. Orlando Ward told Land Line at the time that Truman Lee Smith told him before he died that it was a robbery.

“He (Smith) said it was a robbery, and he told the guy who came up on him with the gun that he didn’t have anything,” Ward said. He then stated that the gunman was going to “shoot him anyway.”

A mere 21 cents was found in Smith’s pockets.

After graduating from high school in 1989, Truman Lee Smith went into the U.S. Marine Corp. and was stationed in the Persian Gulf.

“It’s hard because he served over there, then comes back on U.S. soil and is killed,” she said.

Nearly every day, Jeannette Smith said she and her husband, also named Truman, visit their son’s grave to say hello.

“We pick up our grandbaby from school, which is right by the cemetery. And I just cannot stand to pass by there without going by and saying hi to him,” she said. “Some days it’s hard and we cry our eyes out. Other days we giggle about something we remember about him.”

After her son’s death, Jeannette Smith said she started up a memorial Facebook page where his family and friends “talk” to him and share memories about him.

She said many of his friends stop by her son’s grave to leave him presents, sometimes a beer or a taco.

“You never know what you are going to find. Everybody misses him, that’s for sure,” she said. “I hope someday they get his killer off the streets, and I have confidence that the Illinois State Police will get him.

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