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A woman going through a divorce and custody battle is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter and severely cutting her teenage daughter at a popular inn on the northern Oregon coast, a crime that shocked tourists and residents. Jessica Smith, 40, of Goldendale, Washington, was ordered held without bail Monday during her first court hearing, in which she appeared via a video feed from jail.
Authorities began looking for Smith on Friday after a housekeeper at the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach found the body of Smith's 2-year-old daughter in a room. The other daughter, age 13, was badly cut and taken to a Portland hospital for surgery, police said. She's expected to recover.
On Sunday, a Coast Guard helicopter spotted an SUV driven by Smith in the woods east of Cannon Beach, and authorities soon took her into custody.
The mother had been under a court order to turn over the children to their father, Greg Smith, at 5 p.m. Friday, the day the girls were found in the hotel room, The Oregonian reported. An autopsy concluded the toddler's death was a homicide, although it didn't determine the precise cause. Investigators were awaiting toxicology reports. Smith faces charges of aggravated murder, which could lead to the death penalty, and attempted aggravated murder.