Portland Police say they have found no connection between the deaths of six women found dead in secluded wooded areas within a 100-mile radius over three months.
The women, aged between 22 and 32, were found between February 19 and May 7 of this year, sparking claims by internet sleuths that a serial killer is on the loose.
The cases are being investigated by five different law enforcement agencies, at least three of which have said they are working with others to determine if the cases may be connected.
But over the weekend, partially in an effort to pour cold water on rumors circulating on social media, the Portland Police Bureau clarified that there is currently no known connection between the cases.
‘We want to provide reassurance that the speculation is not supported by the facts available at this point,’ the department said Sunday. ‘While any premature death is concerning … (the Portland Police Bureau) has no reason to believe these 6 cases are connected.’
The six female victims were found inside a 100 mile radius around Portland, Oregon all inside of three months. From top left to top right, then bottom left to bottom right: Kristin Smith; Joanna Speaks; Charity Perry; unidentified woman; Bridget Webster; Ashley Real
‘If we learn of an articulable danger, we will notify the public about it,’ the department added.
Internet sleuths have been speculating that some of the murders may be connected, while others have been alarmed that the investigating offices have not come out (until now) to directly say that that the cases are not known to be related.
Authorities found most of their bodies in wooded or secluded rural areas not far from Portland.
Most recently, on May 7, the body of 22-year-old Ashley Real was found in a heavily wooded area near Eagle Creek. The young woman had last been seen in March.
Another victims, JoAnna Speaks, 32, was found inside a barn at an abandoned property in Ridgefield, about 22 miles north of Portland.
She died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck and her death was declared a homicide.
Speaks’ sister, Robin, spoke out about her sibling’s murder saying that ‘there are women dying at awful numbers.’
‘Women need to pay attention and they need to know there are dangers and they’re clearly taking the lives of people we love,’ she added.
JoAnna was a recovering drug addict and mother of three who was found dead in early April.
Most of the dead women were found in secluded rural areas or in the woods surrounding Portland
The last body to be found was that of Ashley Real, 22. Her remains were spotted by a fisherman in a heavily wooded area in Eagle Creek on May 7. She was last seen on surveillance footage at a fast food restaurant on March 27 (right)
On April 24, police found the bodies of an unidentified Native American or Alaskan woman (left in a computer generated image). The same day, Charity Perry (right) was also found
Mother-of-three Joanna Speaks, left, was found dead in a barn. Her body had been moved there after she was killed, and she died as the result of blunt force injury to the head. Right, Bridget Leann Ramsey Webster, 31, who was found dead on April 30
Kristin Smith, 22, was found on February 19. She had been missing since December
Police have also said that her body had been moved to the barn where she was found after she’d been killed.
The other victims: Bridget Leann Ramsey Webster, 31; Charity Lynn Perry, 24; Kristin Smith, 22; and an unidentified woman who was found several miles from Smith’s body, were all found within 100 miles of one another, sparking communal anxiety in the area.
At present, just one of the cases is being investigated as a homicide. Four are being looked into as suspicious deaths, and in one of the cases, police say no foul play was involved.
In some cases, police are refusing to release any additional information for fear of compromising their investigation.