Clark County detectives say they’re investigating but have not established any connection between the deaths of four Oregon women and a woman whose body was found in April in Ridgefield.
Investigators with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office say they’ve identified at least one person of interest who is linked to the deaths of Kristin Smith, Charity Perry, Bridget Webster and Ashley Real. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said deputies are communicating with investigators in those cases about the death of Joanna Speaks, 32, who was found at an abandoned property in Ridgefield.
Speaks’ death investigation
On April 8, detectives responded to a deceased person, later identified as Speaks, at 8004 S. Fifth St. in Ridgefield, about a mile east of Interstate 5. The sheriff’s office said there is evidence she died elsewhere and her body had been moved to that location.
A vacant, boarded-up house stands on the 5-acre property, along with a small detached garage. Speaks’ body was found behind the garage, in tall grass and brambles, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Clark County Superior Court.
The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office said she died from blunt head and neck injuries. Her death was ruled a homicide, meaning it resulted from another person’s deliberate action. The rulings do not make any judgments about criminal culpability.
Clark County Connection?
Speaks’ family told deputies she spent her time in the Estacada, Ore., area. A police records search showed she had addresses in the past 10 years in Oregon City, Portland and the Milwaukie areas in Oregon. Family also said she had a tent in the Gladstone area and that she spent much of her life either homeless or couch surfing. They also said she used drugs, the affidavit states.
She also used to live in Vancouver and was convicted in a 2012 Clark County Superior Court case of first-degree robbery and tampering with a witness. Court records indicate she was released from prison in that case in 2015.
Speaks didn’t have a phone. She used Facebook Messenger and other people’s phones to communicate, they said.
She was arrested March 8 in Clackamas County on a warrant. Deputies said she requested housing assistance when she was released from jail. She was released March 15, and the affidavit states that’s the last time someone known to investigators had seen Speaks.
Information from her Facebook and Google email accounts showed that she had logged in between March 16 and March 20.
Smith, 22, whose body was found Feb. 19 in Southeast Portland, was reported missing Dec. 22. Perry, 24, was found April 21 at Ainsworth State Park in east Multnomah County. Perry was known to spend time in Vancouver, KGW reported. Webster, 31, was found April 30 in Polk County. Real, 22, was found May 7 in Clackamas County. She was reported missing April 4, according to the district attorney’s office news release.
Before Monday’s announcement, there had been online speculation that the deaths of the four women were connected, along with the death of Speaks and another unidentified woman. The Portland Police Bureau said last month investigators did not believe the deaths were connected and denied online rumors of a serial killer.
Anyone with information on the cases is asked to contact the Crime Stoppers of Oregon crimestoppersoforegon.com.