The January 2008 disappearance of 15-year-old Yasmin Acree sparked a massive police investigation that sent detectives on hundreds of leads, including false sightings that stretched from her tough West Side neighborhood to Michigan and New York City.
But Chicago Tribune reporters Gary Marx and David Jackson recently uncovered a piece of potential evidence that hadn’t been turned up by police: a diary Yasmin hid in her Austin bedroom.
In it, Yasmin twice mentioned a 35-year-old man who had lived for several months in a separate second-floor apartment at her two-flat, the reporters write in a front-page article in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune.
“I miss Tyrell …,” Yasmin wrote.
Yasmin was referring to Jimmie Terrell Smith, who had moved into her building after serving more than 10 years for attempted murder.
Described in court records as a brutal predator, Smith is now in Cook County Jail awaiting trial on charges of raping five females, including two 14-year-olds he is alleged to have kidnapped. Smith had shown an interest in Yasmin and had contact with her after he moved out of her two-flat, including at a family friend’s house shortly before she vanished, according to Tribune interviews.
Earlier this year, the Chicago Police Department released an age-enhanced photo of Yasmin.
Students at Austin Polytechnical Academy, where Yasmin attended, gathered in January to remember their classmate, who was a freshman at the school when she went missing. Yasmin is now 18 years old.