Cops Eye Freed Career Criminal as Suspect in Serial Killings

Jesse Lee Calhoun is person of interest in deaths of 4 women near Portland, Oregon: reports
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2023 7:57 AM CDT
Cops Eye Freed Career Criminal as Suspect in Serial Killings
Jesse Calhoun   (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)

Days after police arrested a suspected serial killer linked to the deaths of four women in New York, authorities have identified a person of interest in the deaths of four women on the other side of the country. Kristin Smith, 22; Charity Perry, 24; Bridget Webster, 31; and Ashley Real, 22; have all turned up dead in northwest Oregon since February, per the New York Post. On Monday, the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office said investigators had "identified at least one person of interest that is linked to all four of the decedents." That person is 38-year-old Jesse Lee Calhoun, currently held at Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, sources tell KATU.

The DA's office didn't name Calhoun, but noted "there is not believed to be any active danger to the community at this time." The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office previously described Calhoun as a "prolific thief and career criminal." He "has a long record of felony convictions dating to 2004," per the Willamette Week. He was one of dozens of inmates granted clemency for helping fight wildfires in 2021, about a year before his scheduled release following a burglary conviction. Authorities believe he was involved in at least four deaths since then. Smith, reported missing in December, was found dead in a wooded area of Portland on Feb. 19. Perry, known to frequent downtown Portland, was found dead in Ainsworth State Park, 35 miles outside the city, on April 24, per the Week.

Six days later, the body of Webster, also known to frequent Portland, turned up about 55 miles southwest in Polk County, per KATU. Then on May 7, Real's body was found near the Clackamas County community of Eagle Creek, some 25 miles southeast of Portland. "I am absolutely horrified for the victims, their families, and all those who have experienced these losses," former Gov. Kate Brown, who granted clemency to Calhoun, says in a statement. Gov. Tina Kotek's office revoked Calhoun's commutation on July 3 at the request of the DA's Office, per KATU. He was arrested three days later with help from the US Marshals Service after plunging into a river in an attempt to escape, per the Week. (More serial killers stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.