Police: Smith drowned toddler out of fear of husband

WARNING: This story contains graphic content

CANNON BEACH, Ore. -- The woman accused of killing her toddler and injuring her teen daughter in a Cannon Beach hotel last week said she did so to avoid giving their father custody, according to court documents.

Police were initially called at 10:09 a.m. on August 1 to the report of a disoriented girl inside a room at the Surfsand Resort.

Inside they found a 13-year-old girl with her throat cut on both sides, lying on a bed next to her deceased 2-year-old sister, probable cause documents released Monday show.

The teen later told police she and her mother, Jessica Smith, had put the 2-year-old in the bathtub while she was sleeping.

The teen also said she had cut her own throat with her mother's help, according to Det. Sgt. Eric Halverson.

The girl said she and her sister did not want to live with their father and "just wanted to get out of it," Halverson wrote in the report.

Jessica and Greg Smith had been involved in a custody battle. Jessica was court-ordered to turn the children over to their father on the day her daughters were found in the hotel room.

The teen told investigators that her mother had left the gruesome hotel room scene in her gold Chevy Tahoe with the intention of "going to the forest to kill herself."

The girl had lost a lot of blood and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. She was then taken by helicopter to a Portland hospital, where she was listed in critical condition.

On August 3, Clatsop County deputies found Jessica and her vehicle about 15 miles from Cannon Beach, on a remote logging road off U.S. Highway 26.

Background: Coast Guard describes how Jessica Smith was found

She reportedly told investigators at the scene that she was still in possession of the razor blade used to cut her teen daughter's throat.

She has been indicted on one count of aggravated murder and one count of aggravated attempted murder.

Investigators also said Monday that she had emailed a 15-page letter to her estranged husband's colleagues, detailing their "horrible marriage," on the day before police came upon the crime scene.


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