On Sunday, August 3, police in Cannon Beach, Oregon, announced that they were searching for the mother of a two-year-old toddler, Isabella Smith, found dead by a housekeeper in her room at the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach, a resort town on the Oregon coast. Also found in that resort hotel room was the dead toddler’s 13-year-old sister, Alana Smith, who was suffering from “severe cut wounds,” according to Yahoo! News.
The mother, Jessica Smith, 40, of Goldendale, Washington, checked into the resort with her two children on Wednesday. The dead toddler and her injured sister were discovered in their room on Friday morning. The toddler’s death was immediately ruled a homicide, according to Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn.
Schermerhorn added that the children’s dad, reportedly recently separated from Smith, has been cooperating fully with the Cannon Beach investigation. The father has been ruled out as a suspect in the toddler’s death. Police are seeking the public’s help in finding the vehicle that Smith is believed to be driving, a 2007 gold Chevrolet Suburban with the Washington license plate APX 3141.
Later in the day on Sunday, police charged the missing mom with aggravated murder and continued their search for her, according to Oregon Live. Preliminary results from an autopsy performed on the two year old yesterday confirmed that the baby girl’s death was a homicide, although the exact cause of death still remains to be determined. Schermerhorn announced at a press conference yesterday that “Isabella suffered no obvious apparent physical injuries and her cause of death is pending toxicology tests.”
Schermerhorn also announced yesterday that the teen daughter, Alana, although severely wounded with “critical cuts,” is in stable condition at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital and expected to make a full recovery. Police also say that Alana’s condition was consistent was an attempted murder.
Although police know that Smith and her two girls checked into the resort on Wednesday, and the children were discovered at approximately 9:40 a.m. on Friday morning, they can’t yet say for certain exactly when the attack on the two children occurred. Smith had already fled the scene by the time the dead baby and injured teen were found in their room. Schermerhorn said his primary focus now is finding the missing mother.
On Saturday night, a candlelight vigil was held by Cannon Beach residents in memory of the baby girl who was killed. “One of the women who helped organize the vigil said they wanted to support the teen who survived as well as the community.”