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Portland ‘serial killer’: Ex-governor under fire over Jesse Calhoun’s early prison release as ‘girlfriend’ reveals ties to victims

Police connect career criminal to deaths of four women in Oregon but consider him only a ‘person of interest’

Josh Marcus,Gustaf Kilander,Joe Sommerlad
Friday 21 July 2023 16:22 BST
Murdered Oregon woman’s sister says cops avoiding serial killer theory

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Louise Thomas

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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 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 and the fear of Covid-19 spreading in prisons.

Meanwhile, a woman saying that she’s Calhoun’s girlfriend has said that he had links to two of the four victims, revealing that Calhoun and Ashley Real had been seeing each other on and off for about a year and that he would provide Bridget Webster with drugs in exchange for sex.


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.

Read more:

Josh Marcus20 July 2023 14:00

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.

Since then, the bodies of five more young women have been discovered within a 100-mile stretch of the Portland Metro area and, on Monday, police said they believed that at least four of them could be linked to one person of interest, whom they declined to identify, having previously said they had “no reason to believe” such a connection existed.

Read more:

Is there a serial killer in Portland? What we know about string of mystery deaths

Police believe four of six recent unexplained deaths of young women in Oregon could be linked to a single person of interest, writes Joe Sommerlad

Joe Sommerlad20 July 2023 14:30

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:

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 in Oregon has mothers of the victims hoping they may finally get answers about what happened to their daughters

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

Deaths of four women in Portland linked to person of interest, authorities say

Authorities in Oregon say they have identified a person of interest in an investigation into a string of murders of in the greater Portland Metro area.

The bodies of six women have been found in roadsides and woods in a 100-mile area of the city between February and May this year, prompting fears of a possible serial killer.

On Monday, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office announced it had connected four of the victims to a sole person of interest, according to KPTV.

The person’s identity has not been released by authorities, and they are not currently facing criminal charges in connection with the murders, the sheriff’s office said.

Read more:

Person of interest identified in connection with four murders in Portland

The bodies of six women have been found in roadsides and woods in a 100-mile area of the city between February and May this year

Bevan Hurley20 July 2023 15:30

Woman claiming to be girlfriend of person of interest in Oregon killings reveals alleged links to victims

A woman who says that the recently detained person of interest in the suspected Oregon serial killer case Jesse Lee Calhoun lived with her and her children for a year and a half, has shared allegations that there may have been connections between the 38-year-old and some of the victims.

In a video interview shared on YouTube, Krista Senor said Calhoun was linked to at least two of the four murdered women and that he had sex and sold fentanyl to other women during their relationship, according to Oregon Live.

“I’m still in shock over this. It’s just surreal,” Ms Sinor, 43 told The Oregonian on Wednesday. “It’s very strange. I can’t wrap my mind around any of it. Neither can his family or friends.”

Police spent three days searching her apartment in Milwaukie, Oregon after they arrested Calhoun on 6 June.

Former Oregon Governor Kate Brown commuted Calhoun’s sentence for several burglaries on 23 June 2021, about a year before he was set to be released, for his work fighting wildfires.

Read more:

Girlfriend of person of interest in Oregon murders shares alleged links to victims

‘My first thought is that maybe a fentanyl overdose and he freaked out’

Gustaf Kilander20 July 2023 16:00

VIDEO: Deaths of 4 women connected to man who was released from prison early in 2021

Deaths of 4 women connected to man who was released from prison early in 2021
Gustaf Kilander20 July 2023 16:30

Who are the victims?

Two months after the discovery of Kristin Smith, police reported finding the body of JoAnna Speaks, a 32-year-old mother-of-two, near an abandoned barn in rural Clark County near Ridgefield, Washington, on 8 April, with investigators concluding she had suffered fatal blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Then, on 24 April, the body of Charity Lynn Perry, 24, from Longview, Washington, was found near a culvert by the East Historic Columbia River Highway close to Ainsworth State Park in Multnomah County, as was that of another unidentified woman near Interstate 205 in the same county, whom a medical examiner said was between 25 and 40 years old and could possibly be Native American or Native Alaskan.

Later that week, Milwaukee woman Bridget Leann (Ramsey) Webster, 31, was found dead on Harmony Road near Mill Creek in northwest Polk County on 30 April.

Then, on 7 May, Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputies found the body of Ashley Real, 22, in a wooded area near Eagle Creek, about 23 miles southeast of Portland.

In all five cases, investigating officers declined to speculate about the possible cause of their deaths but said each was being treated as suspicious.

They now believe the cases of Smith, Perry, Webster and Real could be linked.

Sources previously told Oregon Live in June that at least three of the victims were known to frequent the same areas of downtown Portland in the months before their deaths, a clue to at least one direction the investigation could take.

Joe Sommerlad20 July 2023 17:00

What have the authorities said?

Monday’s statement from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office read: “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.

“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.”

In early June, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) had appealed for calm and denied online rumours that the deaths might be linked.

“PPB has no reason to believe these six cases are connected,” it said in a statement.

“We ask that our community be aware of the facts about these cases before sharing speculation. PPB is assuring our community that if we learn of an articulable danger, we will notify the public about it. PPB will continue to coordinate with other law enforcement agencies to ensure we are doing all we can to pursue justice for any and all crime victims.”

Joe Sommerlad20 July 2023 17:30

Mothers of women in Portland ‘serial killer’ case cling to hope of accountability

The mothers of four women found dead in suspicious circumstances around the Portland metro area are hoping for accountability after police identified a person of interest in the case.

Between February and May this year, the bodies of six women were found in roadsides and woods in a 100-mile area of the city, sparking fears of a serial killer in the area.

Jesse Calhoun, a former convict who is currently behind bars for a parole violation in connection to another case, was identified on Monday as a person of interest in the deaths of four of the women, according to law enforcement sources.

The four women are: Ashley Real, 22, Bridget Leann Ramsey Webster, 31, Charity Lynn Perry, 24, and Kristin Smith, 22.

Calhoun, 38, hasn’t been charged with a crime and officials haven’t shared any information about what led to the sudden development in the case.

Read more:

Mothers of women in Portland ‘serial killer’ case cling to hope of accountability

‘I’m just really hoping that this is it. I don’t know – I guess I’m still kind of in shock by it all, but I’m just hoping that we got him,’ one grieving mother said

Gustaf Kilander20 July 2023 18:00

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

Authorities have reportedly identified a 38-year-old man as a person of interest connected to the suspicious deaths of four women in the Portland metro area, according to anonymous law enforcement officials.

Police have not officially named a person of interest in the case or announced any charges but several news outlets, including the Associated Press, have identified him as Jesse Lee Calhoun.

Officials believe the person of interest 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:

What we know about Portland ‘serial killer’ case person of interest Jesse Calhoun

Police in Oregon say the deaths of four women whose bodies were found on roadsides may be linked, writes Ariana Baio

Ariana Baio20 July 2023 18:30

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