Mother of murdered toddler appears in court, will stay in jail

Mother of murdered toddler appears in court, will stay in jail

ASTORIA, Ore. -- Jessica Smith appeared before a judge in Clatsop County on Monday, accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter and attempting to kill her 13-year-old daughter last week in Cannon Beach.

Smith, dressed in a bright yellow jail uniform indicating the seriousness of the charges, did not say a word as she appeared on the court's video system.

Smith's lawyer, William Falls, did not ask the judge to consider bail so she will remain in jail until her next court appearance August 12.

Her lawyer did, however, make an unusual request.

Falls asked the judge to instruct the grand jury not to inspect Smith's mental health or medical history.

Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis opposed the request, saying he had never heard of such a request.

The judge did not respond to the request.

Smith will remain in jail while the grand jury convenes this week to consider a formal indictment. 

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CANNON BEACH, Ore. – Police have arrested Jessica Smith in connection to the murder of her 2-year-old toddler and attempted murder of her teenage daughter.

Cannon Beach police chief Jason Schermerhorn said a U.S. Coast Guard crew in a helicopter spotted the children’s mother and her SUV on a logging road in a heavily forested area Sunday afternoon near Cannon Beach. It appeared she had been in the area since Friday, police said.

Police took her into custody without incident. Smith is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

On Friday, a housekeeper discovered a gruesome scene inside a hotel room at the Surfsand Resort. Smith’s 2-year-old toddler was found dead, and her other 13-year-old daughter was critically injured with severe cuts. Smith was nowhere to be found.

Police issued a warrant for Smith’s arrest Sunday. The 13-year-old had surgery late Friday night at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and is currently in stable condition.

During a press conference Saturday afternoon, Schermerhorn described a horrifying scene in the hotel room.

“I saw a large amount of blood,” he said, adding that it all appeared to be from the 13-year-old.

Police have ruled it a homicide, the first in town in more than half a century, Schermerhorn said. Contrary to some earlier reports, the child was not cut or stabbed.

Schermerhorn said the children’s father, Greg Smith, is not a suspect and has cooperated with the investigation.

Greg Smith’s family released the following statement late Sunday night:

"We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of sympathy and support from Cannon Beach and the surrounding communities. We would also like to thank all the law enforcement agencies for their tireless efforts. Special thanks is given to the caregivers and other support individuals for their empathy and skilled care of our whole family.

Our family is working through a very difficult time, and we would request that our privacy be respected. If, in the future, any member of the family wishes to speak with media, we will reach out directly or through police officials. Thank you."