6 women found dead around Portland metro; cases not connected, police say
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Law enforcement is investigating the discovery of six women’s remains around the Portland metro area over the course of the past four months.
Some of the deaths are being reported as suspicious. However, investigators have not yet made any arrests or named any suspects.
Gresham resident Kristin Smith, 22, was found dead in a forested area on February 19 in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood.
Smith was reported missing by her family on December 22, 2022.
On April 8, 32-year-old Joanna Speaks was discovered dead close to an abandoned barn in Ridgefield.
The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that Speaks’ cause of death was blunt force trauma to her head and neck.
Investigators subsequently ruled Speaks death a homicide and said that her body was likely moved to the location where it was found.
Charity Lynn Perry
Charity Lynn Perry, 24, was found dead near Ainsworth State Park on April 24.
Perry’s remains were found in a culvert near East Historic Columbia River Highway.
Perry was last seen at the start of March and was known to frequent downtown Portland.
Investigators said her death was being investigated as suspicious. But they have not released any further details in the case.
On April 24, an unidentified woman was found dead in the Lents neighborhood of Portland.
The woman was between the ages of 25 and 40 and may have been Native American or Alaska Native.. She was around 5 feet and 1 inch tall and weighed 135 pounds, according to the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The medical examiner’s office also noted that she had two noticeable scars on her left lower leg and two tattoos, including a black music note with the letter “V” on her left upper chest and a Buddha tattoo on her right shoulder blade. Her hair was described as medium-length and black.
According to authorities, the body of Milwaukie resident Bridget Webster, 31, was discovered close to Mill Creek on April 30.
Investigators said Webster’s case was being investigated as a suspicious death, as well.
Webster was known to frequently visit Portland and Oregon City, according to investigators.
According to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, the remains of 22-year-old Ashley Real were discovered on May 7 in a densely wooded area near Eagle Creek. A man fishing at a nearby pond found her remains and dialed 911, according to law enforcement.
Detectives were also treating Real’s case as a suspicious death.
On Friday, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Portland Police Bureau sent statements to FOX 12 about the cases.
“For the Kristin Smith case ... the cause/manner of her death is so far undetermined per the Medical Examiner,” said Sergeant Kevin Allen with PPB. “As for Ashley Real ... I can confirm that our Missing Persons Unit Detectives are coordinating with Clackamas County Sheriff’s office on the death investigation.”
“Our Major Crimes Unit has been in contact with investigators from other agencies to discuss these cases,” wrote Sergeant Christopher Skidmore with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. “I know just from reading the news stories that there are similarities, but they are not ready to say that these are linked.”
Skidmore added, “I can tell you that in the Speaks investigation that detectives received dozens of leads after reaching out and asking for information from the community. They are continuing to follow-up on all of those leads.”
On Sunday, Portland police sent out an additional statement about the six deaths, which states that investigators do not believe the six cases are related:
“The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has been hearing widespread questions and concerns about the death investigations of 6 women throughout the region, especially after widely distributed social media posts and news media articles appeared to suggest a connection between them. These discussions have led to some anxiety and fear in our community, and we want to provide reassurance that the speculation is not supported by the facts available at this point.
“While any premature death is concerning, and we will diligently investigate deaths that happen in our jurisdiction in collaboration with the Multnomah County and Oregon State Medical Examiner’s offices, PPB has no reason to believe these 6 cases are connected. ...
“To be clear, PPB currently is not involved with the Ainsworth State Park (Multnomah County), Polk County, and the Clark County death investigations. We have spoken to those agencies regarding these investigations but as of now we are not actively participating in them. It is common investigative practice, whether it is retail theft, robbery, sexual assault, or murder cases, to consider possible connections to other cases both in and out of our jurisdiction. Like with all investigations of this nature we are routinely in contact with our law enforcement partners. That has happened here, but that should not suggest a connection has been made.
“We ask that our community be aware of the facts about these cases before sharing speculation. PPB is assuring our community that if we learn of an articulable danger, we will notify the public about it. PPB will continue to coordinate with other law enforcement agencies to ensure we are doing all we can to pursue justice for any and all crime victims.”
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