‘Person of interest’ in deaths of 4 women was released early for good behavior, fighting wildfires, court documents show

FOX 12 is learning more about a person of interest who may be connected to the deaths of four Portland area women, according to the DA's office.
Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 6:49 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Days after the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office announced they have a person of interest who may be connected to the deaths of four Portland area women, FOX 12 is learning more about this person’s background.

FOX 12 is not naming the individual because they have not officially been charged with a crime.

Public records show this person has had a history with the law. According to a clemency letter signed by former Gov. Kate Brown, this individual was released from prison one year early in 2021 because of their work as a prison firefighter for the 2020 wildfires and good behavior while incarcerated.

SEE ALSO: Oregon lawmakers push Kotek to review all prison commutations granted by Brown

Melissa Smith, Kristin Smith’s mother, posted a video on Facebook where she expressed her confusion about this decision in a portion of it.

“Why?” Smith said. “Now my daughter was the first one to be murdered. I have a lot of thoughts, a lot of questions, and a lot of concerns about that.”

The person of interest was incarcerated in November 2019 for assaulting a police officer, burglary, and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Court documents also show other arrests for more violent offenses, like strangulation, but those charges were dropped.

On June 6, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office arrested this person for parole violations at the request of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. It’s still unclear what their violations were.

Then about one month later on July 3, the district attorney’s office sent a letter to Gov. Tina Kotek, requesting she revoke their clemency and be placed back into custody. The reasoning was for alleged criminal activity.

RELATED: 4 women found dead in Portland metro are linked, investigators say

Former Gov. Kate Brown sent FOX 12 a statement:

“I am absolutely horrified for the victims, their families, and all those who have experienced these losses.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family of Kristin Smith.