What started out as group emails has now grown into the Find Kristin Smart Facebook group with more than 26,000 members.
The group shares information about Smart’s disappearance, reactions to the podcast and support for fellow group members.
About 1,000 of those members joined in the past week after authorities issued four new search warrants.
An administrator of the group, Dennis Mahon started the emails and Facebook group.
Mahon originally heard about the Kristin Smart case when a woman from his hometown in Charlotte, North Carolina disappeared from the Bay Area in 1997. Her name was Kristen Modafferi.
Mahon originally wanted to help the Modafferi family who introduced him to the Smart family and became involved in Smart’s disappearance. Kristen Modafferi has still not been found.
According to Mahon, Chris Lambert’s Podcast ‘Your Own Backyard’ is to thank for the quickly growing Facebook group and new attention brought to Smart’s case.
“Your Own Backyard” had more than 2 million downloads in the first six months and has since reached number five on the Apple Podcast True Crime chart.
“I believe that the Sheriff’s Department was working on the case in their own secretive way, and I understand why that is,” Lambert wrote in an email to Mustang News. “But to the public, I felt like Kristin’s story was fading from memory, and I wanted to try to change that, even in just a small way.”
Other members of the group knew about the Smart case from the beginning.
“I was only a little girl when Kristin Smart went missing but I remember the shock waves it sent. I remember being afraid … afraid of a bad man on the loose,” Yasmin Qadri, a group member originally from Templeton wrote in an email to Mustang News.
The Smart case has spread internationally with members of the group from all different parts of the world.
“I didn’t expect it to spread anywhere near as far as it did. I still can’t wrap my head around how far it’s traveled,” Lambert wrote.
Charlotte Hjorth, a group member from Denmark, joined the Find Kristin Smart Facebook page after reading about it online in January.
“What’s even more amazing is that the investigation is also benefiting from the podcast and the Facebook group,” Hjorth wrote in an email to Mustang News. “New information from some group members has surfaced and been helpful in the investigation.”
Another member, Maria Hackett, from Ireland is a true crime podcast fan and after finding Lambert’s podcast, she joined the Facebook group.
“I was in a Starbucks queue last week in Dublin (our capital) and heard two women in front of me talking about the podcast and how tragic the story is,” Hackett wrote in an email to Mustang News.
According to Hackett, cases like Smart’s are pretty much unheard of in Ireland.
“A quick Google tells me that the distance between Cal Poly and Dublin, Ireland is 5161 miles so her story is most certainly being talked about as a result of the podcast,” Hackett wrote.
Smart’s story has reached many people across the world, but what unites them is the hope that the case will be resolved.
“I just want to make it really clear, that I truly believe Kristin will come home and justice will be done,” Hjorth wrote.