Families of women found dead in 4-month span in Portland metro hold fundraiser in their names
HAPPY VALLEY, Ore. (KPTV) - On Saturday, families of four missing women who were found dead earlier this year gathered for an end-of-summer community barbecue fundraiser at Happy Valley Park.
In a span of four months, six women were found dead earlier this year in different areas of the Portland metro Area. On Feb. 19, 22-year-old Kristin Smith was found in a wooded area near Southeast Deardorff Road and Southeast Flavel Street in Portland. Charity Perry, 24, and Bridget Webster, 31, were found within days of each other in April. Ashley Real, 22, was found in a heavily wooded part of Clackamas County near Eagle Creek in May.
In July, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office announced they have a person of interest they believe is linked to four of the women.
Now as families are still looking for answers, four families of the six missing women have come together to honor the women and the money raised will go toward funeral costs and their families.
“What better way than to ask the community to come out, support us, meet us, let us thank them for donations, GoFundMes?” Melissa Smith, mother of Kristin Smith, said. “We want to meet the community.”
The body of 32-year-old Joanna Speaks was found in Ridgefield in April. However, her death hasn’t been connected to the person of interest.
“I have a lot of faith in our detectives in Clark County,” Ariel Hamby, sister of Joanna Speaks, said. “Now it’s just kind of waiting.”
The fundraiser offered information to help those who are experiencing addiction, homelessness, or may be trapped in sex trafficking.
“They couldn’t have died for nothing so we’re going to turn it in to something… we need to change it,” Hamby said. “And make this, at least some kind of positive impact.”
The families said the fundraiser is a celebration of life. They said going through this together has been a rollercoaster and said they won’t stop until they get justice.
“We all drop everything just to be there for each other and be like, ‘Where do you need me? Where do we gotta go? Let’s figure it out,” Hamby said. “Even on the bad days, we help each other with grief.”
The families said it’s important during these times to stay connected.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Diana Allen, mother of Charity Perry, said. “We’re not letting it go, we’re not sitting down and we’re not shutting up.”
Copyright 2023 KPTV-KPDX. All rights reserved.