Police: Woman in custody in death of daughter

CANNON BEACH, Ore. (AP) — Police say the mother of a toddler found dead at a coastal Oregon resort has been taken into custody.

The Oregonian reported Jessica Smith was found about 15 miles east of Cannon Beach off a logging road. Police said a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spotted her vehicle there.

Police provided the information at a news conference late Sunday night. They had earlier disclosed an arrest in the case but a name wasn't released.

Authorities had said earlier in the day that the mother of the toddler and a teen girl found seriously injured in a resort room was wanted on suspicion of murder.

The paper reported that Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn said the cause of death of the 2-year-old remains unknown after an autopsy. But it determined her death was a homicide.

Authorities had been looking for the 40-year-old Smith of Goldendale, Washington, since a housekeeper discovered the toddler and her 13-year-old sister Friday morning at the resort. Previously, officials wanted to ensure Smith's welfare.

The teen had severe cut wounds, but authorities said she is expected to make a full recovery.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A suspect was taken into custody Sunday in the case of a toddler found dead at a coastal Oregon resort, authorities said.

Police disclosed the arrest and planned to hold a news conference later Sunday night, The Oregonian reported (http://bit.ly/1sjX0vS). The identity of the person in custody wasn't immediately available.

Authorities said earlier Sunday that the mother of the toddler and a teen girl found seriously injured in a resort room was wanted on suspicion of murder.

The paper reported that Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn said the cause of death of the 2-year-old remains unknown after an autopsy. But it determined her death was a homicide.

Authorities have been looking for her mother, Jessica Smith, 40, of Goldendale, Washington, since a housekeeper discovered the toddler and her 13-year-old sister Friday morning at the resort. Previously, officials wanted to ensure Smith's welfare.

The teen had severe cut wounds, but authorities said she is expected to make a full recovery.

Smith and her children checked into the resort Wednesday, and there was no sign of forced entry, the chief said. The children's father has cooperated with investigators and has been ruled out as a suspect, Schermerhorn has said. Multiple media reports citing court records say the couple had recently separated.

The public was asked to watch for a 2007 gold Chevrolet Suburban with the Washington license plate APX 3141, which Smith was believed to be driving.

More than a dozen people from around Cannon Beach gathered Saturday evening for a candlelight vigil for the 2-year-old girl. One of the women who helped organize the vigil said they wanted to support the teen who survived as well as the community.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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