Cortney Lake: Has She Been Found? Is Philip Smith Dead or Alive?

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In June 2017, Cortney Lake, a young mother, got into a vehicle in St. John’s in Newfoundland, Canada. However, she was never heard from or seen again after that. The seventh episode on Paramount+’s ‘Never Seen Again’ chronicles the circumstances leading up to Cortney’s disappearance and how the investigators suspected her ex-boyfriend, Philip Smith, of being involved with her vanishing. 

What Happened to Cortney Lake?

Cortney Lake was a 24-year-old single mother to a young son she had with Jason Pike. At the time of the incident, she lived in Mount Pearl, close to St. John’s. The young woman was close to her family and had a brother, Colin. Everything seemed to be going well for Cortney until she got into a pickup truck on June 7, 2017. This changed her life forever and left her family with many questions.

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Cortney was last seen in a pink hoodie and black pants at a store in St. John’s. Surveillance cameras captured the 24-year-old, and at around 8 pm on June 7, 2017, a dashcam video showed her getting into a black GMC pickup truck on the passenger’s side. The car was then seen making an aggressive U-turn before peeling away. In the days that followed, the authorities and loved ones mounted a desperate search for Cortney.

Cortney Lake: Still Missing, Believed to Be Murdered

The police immediately considered Cortney’s disappearance suspicious and urged people to provide any information they knew. One of the first things they did was to identify to whom the vehicle belonged. The pickup truck was traced to Philip Smith, Cortney’s ex-boyfriend. During an interview with the police, he admitted to picking her up on the day she disappeared.

Investigation revealed that Philip and Cortney’s relationship was fraught with problems. According to Cortney’s mother, Lisa Lake, it was abusive. It was also revealed that Philip had some past convictions for being violent with Cortney. In fact, on June 7, he pled guilty to assault, distributing intimate images of Cortney and breaching earlier orders to stay away from her and her mother. After being handed down a two-day sentence, Philip was asked not to contact Cortney or her mother.

However, Philip and Cortney did get in touch on that day she disappeared. She wanted her Christmas ornaments back, and he told her that he could come to pick her up, take her home, and drop her back. Cortney didn’t have a great experience collecting her things from Philip in the past because, at one point, he set her belongings on fire. Given Philip’s past convictions and his equation with Cortney, he quickly became the prime suspect.

Today, while the authorities have remained tight-lipped about the investigation, they believed, along with the family, that Cortney was murdered. Lisa said, “It’s been difficult. The grieving is ongoing; it’s as fresh as day one. It doesn’t get any easier. The thought of her gone and not coming back is very, very difficult. It’s hard to come to terms with; it’s hard to believe.”

Philip Smith’s Mysterious Death

The investigation hit a major roadblock when Philip Smith suddenly turned up dead. On November 1, 2017, the 25-year-old’s body was found in a wooded area close to Bellevue Beach, about an hour from St. John’s. Where the authorities have not announced how Philip died, it has been reported that it was a suicide and no weapons were involved.

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Sometime before Cortney’s disappearance, Lisa recalled Philip calling her and telling her he would kill himself. At the time, Lisa called Philip’s sister, and he survived but ended up being hospitalized. The authorities also noted that several people had been withholding information and had provided statements that could be proven wrong through video and photo proof. Since then, Cortney’s loved ones and the police have continued to urge people to share information, with Philip being the only suspect in the case.

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