crimesider

Mom charged with murder after tot found dead in Ore. hotel

Jessica Smith, 40. CBS affiliate KOIN

CANNON BEACH, Ore. - The mother of a 2-year-old girl found dead at a coastal Oregon resort Friday has been taken into custody, authorities said Sunday night.

Forty-year-old Jessica Smith, of Goldendale, Wash., faces charges of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder, Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis said. Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn said Smith was arrested Sunday after a multiple agency search.

CBS affiliate KOIN reports Isabella Smith, 2, was dead and her 13-year-old sister was critically injured when both were discovered by the housekeeping staff at the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach, Ore., on Friday morning.

The teen had severe cut wounds, but authorities said she is expected to make a full recovery after being airlifted to a Portland-area hospital on Friday.

At a late-night news conference Sunday, Marquis said Smith was being held at an Astoria jail and would appear for her arraignment, which would likely occur Monday afternoon. KOIN reports the suspect was taken into custody without incident.

Smith was found about 15 miles east of Cannon Beach off a logging road, The Oregonian reports. Police said a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spotted her 2007 gold Chevrolet Suburban there.

The paper reports that Schermerhorn said an autopsy determined the 2-year-old's death was a homicide but that the cause of death remains unknown.

Smith and her children checked into the resort Wednesday, and there was no sign of forced entry, the chief said. The children's father has cooperated with investigators and was ruled out as a suspect, Schermerhorn has said. Multiple media reports citing court records say the couple had recently separated.

More than a dozen people from around Cannon Beach gathered Saturday evening for a candlelight vigil for the 2-year-old girl. One of the women who helped organize the vigil said they wanted to support the teen who survived as well as the community.

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