Mother of dead woman, 1 of 4 linked deaths, says she knew something was wrong months before police seemed to care

Melissa Smith is the mother of the first young woman out of four with linked deaths to be found within 100 miles of each other in the Portland area.
Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 6:40 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Melissa Smith is the mother of Kristin Smith, the first young woman out of four with linked deaths to be found within 100 miles of each other in the Portland area.

Earlier this week, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office identified a person of interest who has been linked to four deaths.

Wearing a bracelet that reads “Justice for Kristin,” Melissa said there is still so much unknown about what happened to her daughter.

“Until I get that phone call or sit down and have that meeting, I don’t know what to think,” Melissa said. “I can’t get excited yet. I’m hopeful because if it is him, he’s off the streets because there are more and more girls coming up missing.”

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Kristin was reported missing to Gresham Police by Melissa on Dec. 22, 2022. She said she filed the missing person’s report as soon as she lost contact with her daughter.

“I was very close to Kristin,” Melissa said. “I knew something was wrong. I knew something happened to her. I was desperate for help and I went to the police and I didn’t get it.”

At the time, she felt as though Gresham police weren’t doing enough because Kristin was using drugs and had become homeless, she said.

“So they just figured she didn’t want to come home,” Melissa said. “So there’s not much they could do and that really upset me. I really needed help.”

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Then in February 2023, her body was found in the Pleasant Valley Neighborhood of Portland. Police confirmed in May that it was in fact Kristin.

“Unfortunately, when I finally, like, I was being heard and being helped, it was too late,” Melissa said.

Melissa said for months she and other family members of the other women were doing their own digging into who may be responsible for their loved ones.

“We knew something was going on and we’ve done our own homework, we’ve done our own research and then provided that to our detectives,” Melissa said.

She said she was happy to learn that her daughter’s case and the case of three other young women was moving forward, but the week has also been overwhelming.

“I’ll speak for myself, all these reporters, with all this incorrect information and my words being twisted around, it’s causing more chaos and stress and anxiety with what it’s doing,” Melissa said. “So I kind of wish it would have waited, and let the police do it.”

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Melissa said she’s grateful for all the support from the community, but is asking the public to be patient as investigators do their work. Like everyone around the world, she wants justice for Kristin.

“It’s our family members,” Melissa said. “I know the whole world wants to know what happened, I understand that but they’re family members. We want to know first. We don’t want to find out on the news or in the newspaper.”

Link to Melissa’s GoFundMe