Missing Gonzales teen found safe; adult male charged by police


An Amber Alert for a Gonzales teen has been canceled after she was found safe in San Marcos Wednesday, Jan. 31.

Scarlett Smith, 14, was safely recovered and her companion, 22-year-old Barry Vanmersbergen was booked into the Hays County Jail on multiple charges.

“The Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the citizens with all the information assisting with this case. The Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office would also like to thank the San Marcos Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in locating Scarlet and apprehending Barry Vanmersbergen,” the department said in a press release this afternoon

Vanmersbergen was charged by San Marcos police with obstruction or retaliation, a third-degree felony; harboring a runaway child, a Class A misdemeanor; and resisting arrest, search or transport, a Class A misdemeanor. He was also charged with evading arrest or detention, a Class A misdemeanor, dating from Dec. 7, 2023, and a parole violation for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle out of Dallas County — a state jail felony. He remained in the Hays County Jail Wednesday night.

Deputies had put out the Amber Alert on Tuesday, Jan. 30 for Smith because they believe her to be in danger after she went missing on Monday, Jan. 29. She was last seen at 11 p.m. Monday in the 15700 block of West US 90-A in Gonzales.

Authorities early on believed she was with Vanmersbergen, who also was known to go by the name “Ben.” It appears Smith went willingly with Vanmersbergen as a runaway though they had initially feared she had been abducted. Due to the age difference between the two individuals, they treated the situation seriously.

Editor's Note: The teen was recovered safely after our press deadline so this week's Gonzales Inquirer will still contain information about teen still being missing.