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Portland police have ‘no reason to believe’ deaths of 6 women are connected to possible serial killer


The unsolved deaths of six women whose remains were found in and around Portland, OR over the past six months are not believed to be connected nor the work of a serial killer as suggested on social media, officials said.

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) “has no reason to believe these six cases are connected,” the department said in a news release addressing the online rumors Sunday.

The bodies of the half dozen women were found within 100 miles of each other on the sides of roads, in woods or in secluded rural areas from February through May.

The causes of death in a majority of the cases have not been revealed — with just one being ruled a homicide thus far, while some others have been considered suspicious.

Social media users have implied that the cases are connected after multiple law enforcement agencies said they are in contact with each other to see if there are any similarities among the women’s deaths, according to the PPB.

“These discussions have led to some anxiety and fear in our community, and we want to provide reassurance that the speculation is not supported by the facts available at this point,” the bureau said.

Portland detectives are investigating the death of one of the six women — 22-year-old Kristin Smith, of Gresham — whose remains were found in a wooded area in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood on Feb. 19. She was reported missing nearly a month earlier, on Dec. 22, 2022.

The cause and manner of her death is undetermined, according to the Medical Examiner.

Kristin Smith
Kristin Smith disappeared in December 2022 and was found dead in Portland on Feb. 19.
Credit: Portland Police Bureau

Ashley Real
Ashley Real, 22, went missing in late March and was found dead on May 7.
Credit: Portland Police Bureau

They are also assisting the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office with its investigation into the death of 22-year-old Ashley Real, who disappeared after she was last seen at a Portland fast-food restaurant on March 27.

Real’s body was discovered in a heavily wooded area in Eagle Creek on May 7. Her death was determined to be “suspicious in nature,” but investigators have not concluded that she was the victim of a homicide.

The one woman who authorities said was murdered is Joanna Speaks, who vanished in late March. Her remains were found in a rural area of Clark County, Washington on April 8 and her cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

Her sister, Robyn Speaks, told local station KGW8 that she was concerned about the number of missing women being found dead in the area.

“I don’t want to ever scare people but reality is there are women dying at awful numbers,” Speaks said.

Joanna Speaks
Joanna Speaks’ remains were found in Ridgefield, Washington on April 8. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Credit: Clark County Sheriff’s Office

The three other women whose deaths have been grouped in the lot are Bridget Webster who was found dead on April 30 in Polk County, 24-year-old Charity Perry whose body was discovered in Ainsworth State Park on April 24 and an unidentified Native woman whose remains were found inside a tent on the side of the road on April 24.

PPB said there is no indication that foul play was suspected in the death of the unidentified woman.

The cause and manner of deaths of each of the three women have not been released. In total, five separate law enforcement agencies are investigating the deaths as nearly all occurred in different counties.

Bridget Webster
Bridget Webster vanished in early March and her body was found on April 30.
Credit: Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Charity Perry
The body of Charity Perry was found in Ainsworth State Park on April 24.
Credit: Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Artist rendering of unidentified Native woman with dark hair and brown eyes.
The remains of an unidentified Native American, possibly a Native Alaskan woman were discovered on April 24.
Credit: Multnomah County

PPB said that people should not draw conclusions based on the law enforcement agencies working with one another to check for similarities in the deaths.

“It is common investigative practice, whether it is retail theft, robbery, sexual assault, or murder cases, to consider possible connections to other cases both in and out of our jurisdiction,” PPB said.

“Like with all investigations of this nature we are routinely in contact with our law enforcement partners,” the bureau continued. “That has happened here, but that should not suggest a connection has been made.”

The agency asked community members to learn “the facts about these cases before sharing speculation.”

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