Human remains found near Lake Stevens identified as missing teen

LAKE STEVENS — Detectives combing the area where human remains were located earlier this month also found blood-stained bedding, a broken knife, women’s clothing and paperwork belonging to a teenager whose family last talked to her in November.

Police were notified by the medical examiner last week that the remains are of Summer Smith, 18. No cause of death has been released.

Detectives spoke with Smith’s mother, who said she last heard from her daughter Nov. 19. She sent Smith a text message in early December, concerned that the two hadn’t communicated in a couple of weeks. She received replies but told detectives the tone and content seemed out of character for her daughter. One of the last message Smith’s mother received demanded she stop sending texts.

She called Smith but was directly connected to voicemail until about Dec. 12 when the phone appears to have been shut off or taken out of service.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Smith’s phone records saying they believe someone other than Smith sent the messages. Evidence suggests that Smith died before that exchange happened, according to the search warrant.

Police are investigating her death as a homicide.

Smith’s skull and other bones were discovered Jan. 3 near the 12000 block of Seventh Place SE. A man hired to clean up around the property discovered the skull near some heavy brambles.

Detectives later found two plastic trash bags discarded on some bushes nearby. The bags contained bloody bedding, a knife with a broken and bloody blade, screwdrivers, women’s clothing and paperwork for Smith. The contents were frozen together, indicating that they’d been in the cold for an extended amount of time, sheriff’s detective David Fontenot wrote.

Earlier this week sheriff’s detectives and hundreds of volunteers wrapped up their search for additional remains and evidence. They covered roughly 32 acres, expanding beyond the borders of the property. Access to the area where the skull and trash bags were found is limited, police wrote.

Smith was listed as homeless in a police report taken by Marysville police in May. A couple called 911 after waking up to find Smith asleep in their living room. The couple had left their garage door open. There were no signs that Smith forced her way inside.

The couple reported that they confronted Smith about some missing medication and she admitted to swallowing the pills.

The teenager doesn’t have any criminal convictions.

Prosecutors in August charged Smith with burglary. On Nov. 14 a judge ordered that Smith be evaluated to determine if she was competent to assist with her own defense. Her attorney told the court that Smith likely had a developmental disability. Smith bailed out of jail after the hearing.

She would have been 19 next month.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, hefley@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dianahefley.

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