Police are searching for a suspect, identified as Gavin Smith-Brown, 29, in connection with the slaying of a retired police officer.
Gayla Smith was found dead in her home this week in Crooked River Ranch, but authorities are not discussing the relationship between her and Smith-Brown.
The Tri County Major Crime Team asked the public to help locate Smith-Brown late Tuesday night. Smith-Brown, of Crooked River Ranch, was said to have ties to Portland and Las Vegas.
Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins said earlier Tuesday that local residents are not in danger.
On Sunday morning, deputies performed a welfare check on Gayla Smith’s home on Dove Road in the rural subdivision in Crooked River Ranch.
They knocked on the door but didn’t see anything “out of the ordinary” with the house, Adkins said.
That afternoon, friends of Smith entered the home and discovered her body. Adkins said responding officers quickly determined her death had been a homicide.
Adkins said he’s not releasing the manner of Smith’s death, to limit the possibility someone will erroneously confess to killing her.
Smith, 65, had one child, a son, and was not married, according to Adkins. She worked much of her career as a police officer in Orange County, specializing in police dogs. She retired to Crooked River Ranch and started a home-inspection business, Certified Site Inspections.
Realtor Heather O’Daniel would often recommend Smith to clients.
“She was a spectacular woman with a beautiful view of life,” O’Daniel said.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org