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Portland ‘serial killer’ 2023 update: Jesse Calhoun got prison pardon for fighting wildfires before deaths of women


Murdered Oregon woman’s sister says cops avoiding serial killer theory

Oregon officials have identified Jesse Lee Calhoun of Portland, as a person of interest in the mystery deaths of four women that police say are linked, law enforcement sources told The Associated Press.

The 38-year-old has not been officially named as a person of interest or charged with any crimes related to the investigation.

He is currently in prison on unrelated charges, after being arrested on 6 June for a parole violation.

Court records show that Calhoun has an extensive criminal history including 2003 and 2008 convictions for assault. He was also sentenced to four years in 2019 for burglary.

He was released early in July 2021 after being granted a “conditional commutation” by then-Oregon Governor Kate Brown, due to his service as an inmate firefighter during the wildfires.

On Monday, nine different police departments released a joint statement saying the deaths of Kristin Smith, 22; Charity Lynn Perry, 24; Bridget Leann (Ramsay) Webster, 31; and Ashely Real, 22, are linked.

All four women were found either near or on the sides of roads between February and May in the wider Portland area sparking fears of a serial killer. Their cause of death has not been determined.

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Mothers hope for answers as authorities announce ‘person of interest’ in deaths of 4 women in Oregon

The announcement that authorities are holding a person of interest in the case of four women found dead this year around Portland has mothers of the victims hoping they may finally get answers about what happened to their daughters.

One of the victims was Charity Lynn Perry, 24, whose body was discovered April 24 in a state park along the Columbia River Gorge. Her mother, Diana Allen, said Tuesday that she learned the news about the person of interest from traditional and social media, although she is in communication with a detective on the case.

“I’m in the dark about a lot,” Allen told The Associated Press. “But the detective and I understand why this is required. We don’t need anything messing up this investigation.”

Allen said she knows Charity died in April, but she has not been given an exact date and authorities were unable to tell how she died just from looking at her. The state medical examiner has not determined the cause or manner of death for Charity or the other women, prosecutors said in a statement.

“This hurts so bad. My daughter had such bad mental health issues, and any hope of her getting better is gone. It’s gone now, and a horrid ache replaced it,” Allen said.

Read more:

Andrew Selsky, Lisa Baumann, AP20 July 2023 15:00

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Portland police dismissed serial killer fears after the deaths of six women. Then came a chilling connection

After 22-year-old Kristin Smith vanished from Gresham, Oregon, late last year, her mother Melissa spent months distributing flyers around Portland, giving interviews to local media and true crime podcasts, posting in Facebook groups devoted to finding missing persons and running a GoFundMe page to help keep the search alive.

Police were notified of Kristin’s disappearance three days before Christmas and her mother spent a miserable winter doing everything she could to raise awareness in the hope of being reunited with her lost daughter, whom she began to fear could have become a victim of sex-trafficking.

Then, on 19 February, Melissa’s worst nightmare became a reality when Kristin’s body was found in woodland outside of Gresham’s Pleasant Valley neighbourhood.

Writing subsequently on her fundraising page, Melissa Smith described herself as “deeply saddened, lost and broken” and expressed her certainty that Kristin had been murdered, even though law enforcement had yet to say as much.

“I hope the police get this monster but if they can’t I’LL NEVER GIVE UP FIGHTING FOR MY CHILD,” she wrote in defiance, pledging to use the donations she received to pay for a memorial to Kristin and to employ a private investigator to pursue her case if necessary.

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Joe Sommerlad20 July 2023 14:30

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Jesse Calhoun identified as person of interest in suspicious deaths of four women in Portland

Oregon police have identified Jesse Lee Calhoun of Portland as a person of interest in the recent deaths of four area women that officials say are linked, according to the Associated Press, citing law enforcement sources.

On Monday, a group of nine Washington police agencies announced they had identified a person of interest in the deaths of Kristin Smith, 22; Charity Lynn Perry, 24; Bridget Leann (Ramsay) Webster, 31; and Ashely Real, 22. Police previously said the deaths, which took place between February and May, were unconnected.

Police have not publicly named Calhoun as a person of interest or charged him with any crimes related to the investigation.

Calhoun, whose last address was in Portland, is currently in custody at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, Oregon, on unrelated charges, according to state records.

The 38-year-old entered custody on 6 July, and is scheduled to be released. Records do not indicate why the man is in jail.

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Josh Marcus20 July 2023 14:00

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An inmate was pardoned by Oregon’s governor. Two years on he’s a person of interest in four suspicious deaths

Police have not officially named a person of interest in the case or announced any charges.

Officials believe the 38-year-old has some link to the deaths of Kristin Smith, 22; Charity Lynn Perry, 24; Bridget Leann (Ramsay) Webster, 31; and Ashely Real, 22.

All four women were found dead within 100 miles of one another either near or on the sides of roads between February and May of this year.

Police have not been able to determine the manners or cause of deaths.

Read more:

Ariana Baio20 July 2023 13:30

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ICYMI: Convicted burglar, father, and inmate firefighter: What we know about person of interest in Portland deaths

Police have not officially named a person of interest in the case or announced any charges.

Officials believe the 38-year-old has some link to the deaths of Kristin Smith, 22; Charity Lynn Perry, 24; Bridget Leann (Ramsay) Webster, 31; and Ashely Real, 22.

All four women were found dead within 100 miles of one another either near or on the sides of roads between February and May of this year.

Josh Marcus20 July 2023 13:00

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Jesse Lee Calhoun nearly got away from police in June

Jesse Lee Calhoun, the reported person of interest in the suspicious recent deaths of four Oregon women, had a tense recent encounter with law enforcement, according to law enforcement.

On 6 June, officers from multiple local sheriff’s departments and the US Marshals Service attempted to arrest the 38-year-old on a parole violation.

He then reportedly drove into the Willamette River and tried to escape before later being arrested, Willamette Week reports.

Josh Marcus20 July 2023 12:32

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GOP fueling misleading narrative that Kate Brown caused Oregon killings

Critics on the right are attacking former Oregon governor Kate Brown for commuting the prison sentence of Jesse Lee Calhoun, a man reportedly being considered a person of interest in the suspicious deaths of four women around the Portland area in recent months.

On Twitter, the Marion County, Oregon, Republican Party highlighted a news story about the commutation, while commenters on the right lashed out at Ms Brown.

“The incompetent, evil former gov Brown released this man into society,” one account known as HoneyBadgerMom wrote on social media. “Never forget what these monsters did.”

As The Independent has reported, Calhoun was slated for release in June of 2022, but got out on 22 July, 2021, after the governor commutted his sentence for service on an inmate firefighting crew.

The suspicious deaths were discovered between February and May of 2023, likely after Calhoun would’ve been released on his original sentence.

Josh Marcus20 July 2023 11:00

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Separating fact from fiction in the Oregon investigation

There are times when the media is able to race ahead of what the police can say on a big story.

That’s the case now when it comes to the ongoing Oregon police investigation of four women who were found dead around the wider Portland area in recent months.

While law enforcement sources have told local media outlets that the deaths are murders, and the potential handiwork of a currently incarcerated Portland man named Jesse Lee Calhoun, the official story is much more spare at the moment.

Police have not yet referred to the deaths as murders, nor have they named Mr Calhoun as a suspect or charged him with any crime.

Josh Marcus20 July 2023 09:32

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Did a governor’s pardon let out the possible Oregon killer?

Jesse Calhoun, a Portland man whom police have reportedly identified as a person of interest in the recent deaths of four Oregon women, was let out of prison early by then-governor Kate Brown.

Originally set to be released in summer of 2022, Mr Calhoun’s sentence was conditionally commuted, part of a group of 41 Oregon inmates given reduced sentences following their service in prison fire crews battling wildfires in 2020, per Willamette Week. He was released in 2021.

“I am absolutely horrified for the victims, their families, and all those who have experienced these losses,” Ms Brown told KOIN in a statement.

Josh Marcus20 July 2023 08:32

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Read the full update from Oregon police on suspicious deaths investigation

“Investigators and prosecutors from multiple law enforcement agencies have been working collaboratively on numerous death investigations in Northwest Oregon, and they have determined that there are links between four cases: Kristin Smith, Charity Perry, Bridget Webster, and Ashley Real.

“These Investigators and prosecutors, from nine different law enforcement agencies, have been in regular communication and have been working collaboratively on these investigations for several months. These agencies include the Gresham Police Department, Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County District Attorney’s Office, and the Oregon State Police.

“No charges have been filed against anyone in connection with any of these four death investigations. Investigators have interviewed multiple people in connection with these cases and have identified at least one person of interest that is linked to all four of the decedents. Based on the available information to investigators, there is not believed to be any active danger to the community at this time.

“No additional information, including the nature of the information that links these four cases together is being released at this time, as these are ongoing death investigations. The cause and manner of death in each case remains undetermined by the Oregon State Medical Examiner.

“These four ongoing investigations include:

  • February 19, 2023 – Kristin Smith, 22 (Portland Police Bureau)

    • Missing report filed with the Gresham Police Department on December 22, 2022.
  • April 24, 2023 – Charity Lynn Perry, 24 (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)
  • April 30, 2023 – Bridget Leann (Ramsay) Webster, 31 (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)
  • May 7, 2023 – Ashley Real, 22 (Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office)

    • Missing report filed with the Portland Police Bureau on April 4, 2023.

“Investigators continue to seek the public’s help in each of these investigations. Anyone with information about these cases is asked to contact the appropriate investigator or investigative agency. Media requests regarding specific cases should be directed to the investigating agency.

“Anyone desiring anonymity may submit tips to Crime Stoppers of Oregon. Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers of Oregon, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime and tipsters can remain anonymous. Secure and anonymous tips may be provided at www.crimestoppersoforegon.com or visit the App Store and download P3 Tips for smart phones or tablets.

“Crime Stoppers of Oregon is funded 100% by community donations. To support Crime Stoppers of Oregon with a donation, or to view other unsolved cases, please visit http://www.crimestoppersoforegon.com/.”

Josh Marcus20 July 2023 07:32


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