Jessica Smith, the 40-year-old mother from Goldendale, Washington, charged with the aggravated murder of her two-year-old daughter and the attempted aggravated murder of her 13-year-old daughter who was cut severely at a resort on the Oregon coast last week, made her first courtroom appearance via video on Aug. 4 and was ordered by the judge to be held without bail. Smith is currently going through a divorce and was embroiled in a custody battle with her estranged husband, according to The Huffington Post.
One of the children involved in that custody battle, two-year-old Isabella Smith, is now dead. The toddler’s death was ruled a homicide. During her court hearing yesterday, Smith sat at a table not uttering a word and not entering a plea. She looked down and away from the camera frequently. “At one point during the arraignment, Smith appeared to smile,” according to CBS News.
The allegedly murderous mom will be back in court on Aug. 12. Smith’s lawyer said that his client’s case “would be tried in the courtroom, not the media.”
Smith and her two daughters checked into the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach, Oregon, last Wednesday. On Sunday - the same day the mom was supposed to return the girls to their father Greg Smith as ordered by the courts - a housekeeper from the resort discovered the dead body of two-year-old Isabella and also found Isabella’s 13-year-old sister, Alana Smith, who was seriously cut multiple times. The mother was gone from the room; and the police hunt was on for the mom.
On Aug. 3, a “Coast Guard helicopter spotted an SUV driven by Smith in the woods east of Cannon Beach.” Police swooped in and arrested Smith without incident.
Court documents obtained by KPTV revealed that Jessica Smith's husband, Greg, had filed for divorce on June 30. She then filed a restraining order against him on July 17. Greg Smith's attorney, Nathan Petersen, told the station that Jessica Smith was supposed to hand the children off to their father for visitation the day they were found.
Petersen also said that Greg Smith had expressed concern about his ex-wife's mental state and had requested a psychological evaluation before a judge made a decision about who would have custody of the couple's daughters.
Oregon Live reported Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn as saying that although Isabella’s death has been ruled a homicide, “Isabella suffered no obvious apparent physical injuries and her cause of death is pending toxicology tests.” Schermerhorn also announced that the 13-year-old daughter, although severely wounded with “critical cuts,” was in stable condition at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital and expected to make a full recovery. For more on Smith's arrest, see the video accompanying this article.