Monday, June 1, 2009

Custody fight preceded case of children found in the Willamette

Portland Police search on a dock near the Sellwood Bridge over the weekend after homicide detectives investigated the case of a 3-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl found in the Willamette River.

By Noelle Crombie, Stephen Beaven, The Oregonian
Tuesday May 26, 2009, 3:15 PM
The father of the brother and sister pulled out of the Willamette River early Saturday morning had recently been awarded custody by a Washington County Circuit Court judge, according to court records obtained this morning by The Oregonian.

Amanda Jo Stott-Smith, 31, faces accusations of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder and is scheduled to be arraigned today.
Her 4-year-old son, Eldon Jay Rebhan Smith, drowned in the Willamette. His sister, a 7-year-old girl, is recovering at an area hospital, and has not been identified by authorities.

She was rescued by a boater and his companion who followed the sounds of moaning coming from the river only to find the two children.

Stott-Smith's children have bounced from one home to another since the couple separated last fall.

In mid-February, Jason F. Smith took the children from their home in Tualatin to live in Eugene.

On March 3, the girl started classes at Meadowlark Elementary School.

But on April 6, her mother came to the school with a court order and took the child to Clackamas County. She was enrolled two days later at Concord Elementary School in the North Clackamas School District.

An official at Meadowlark Elementary in Eugene wrote in a letter to the court that a Concord Elementary administrator told her that Stott-Smith was homeless and living with her parents.

"Amanda also stated ... that (her daughter's) enrollment was to be kept confidential and her father was not to know where she was."

In the latest filing, dated April 21, a Washington County Judge Kirsten E. Thompson awarded custody to Jason Smith, 33, in a sternly-worded order saying that Stott-Smith was not to visit the children without their father's permission.

The judge awarded Stott-Smith visitation every other weekend from 7 p.m. Friday until 5 p.m. Sundays. Stott-Smith also was granted telephone access to her children every night.

The court filings in the couple's divorce and custody case offers a glimpse into a chaotic family life for the children in which they appear to have lived in Eugene, Tualatin and Clackamas County.

Court filings show that Stott-Smith and Smith married in April 2001 and separated in September 2008. Soon after, Smith entered an in-patient rehab program but the documents don't say why. Stott-Smith and her children visited Smith on weekends.

According to court records, Jason Smith left a child in a vehicle in April 2001, just five days before his wedding to Amanda Stott-Smith in Hawaii. It's unclear who the child was, because Eldon and his sister weren't yet born. Smith pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $694 in fines, do community service and take a parenting class.

Smith also has run into other trouble with the law. In 1994, he was convicted of first- and second-degree theft from Eugene Coin and Jewelry. In 2000, he was convicted of first-degree drug possession. Last November, he was convicted of hit-and-run driving, and ordered to pay another man nearly $1,700 in restitution.

When the children lived with their mother in Tualatin, Stott-Smith's daily routine involved walking her daughter to and from Byrom Elementary School and taking her son to a preschool.

"I am a stay-at-home mother," she wrote in the court filing. "In the afternoons I fed Eldon lunch, and played with him until it was time to pick his sister up. Many afternoons the three of us would go to the library together. I cared for the children 24 hours a day."

Custody fight preceded case of children found in the Willamette -

My Two Cents-

How many more children must suffer> die> or be abused?? When are they gonna get it?!?!?!

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