Portland police reverse course, believe deaths of 4 women may be work of possible serial killer

Portland police reverse course, believe deaths of 4 women may be work of possible serial killer
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Four of six women suspicisouly found dead in and around Portland, Oregon over the last several months appeared to be connected to a possible serial killer, authorities admitted on Monday, after city investigators previously insisted there was no link among the half-dozen cases. 

Jesse Lee Calhoun — who was released early from a previous prison sentence in 2021 by former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown — is being investigated in connection with the four suspicious deaths, according to officials and a report.

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Kristin Smith
Credit: Portland Police Bureau

“No charges have been filed against anyone in connection with any of these four death investigations,” the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said in a joint news release with law enforcement agencies involved in the case.

“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.”


Bridget Webster
Bridget Webster
Credit: Polk County Sheriff’s Office

The man authorities are looking at for the deaths is 38-year-old Calhoun, several people familiar with the cases told the Willamette Week Monday.

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Calhoun is among more than 1,000 inmates that was released from prison early, shedding 12 months off his sentence, by Brown, who left office at the end of last year.

He was released in July 2021 after he was part of a group of inmates that helped fight wildfires back in 2020, the news outlet reported.


Jesse Lee Calhoun.
38-year-old Jesse Lee Calhoun is a person of interest tied to four of the deaths, sources told a local outlet.
FOX 23 Maine

Former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown
Former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released Calhoun from prison early.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

He was originally in jail after he was convicted on a series of felonies including burglary, unauthorized possession of a stolen vehicle, and injuring a police officer and a police dog, according to the publication.

The latest revelation comes after the bodies of six women were found within 100 miles of each other on the side of roads, in the woods, or in remote rural areas from February through May.

The Portland Police Bureau initially said the agency had “no reason to believe these six cases are connected” as authorities addressed online rumors that were swirling around. The agency asked community members to learn “the facts about these cases before sharing speculation” as they denied the deaths were the work of a serial killer.

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Charity Perry
Charity Perry
Credit: Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Ashley Real
Ashley Real
Credit: Portland Police Bureau

Among the victims reportedly now linked to Calhoun is Kristin Smith, 22, Charity Perry, 24, Bridget Webster, 31, and Ashley Real, 22. The cause and manner of the deaths remains undetermined by the Oregon State Medical Examiner.

Calhoun is currently back behind bars after his commutation sentence was revoked by Gov. Tina Kotek at the request of Multnomah prosecutors earlier this month, KGW reported.

He attempted to evade arrest, jumping into the Willamette River in Milwaukie, but was eventually captured and booked on a parole violation, the Willamette Week reported.

The district attorney’s office noted in its news release “there is not believed to be any active danger to the community at this time.”

More information about the cases was not released Monday.

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