A mother accused in the death of her 4-year-old son, who fell 75 feet from a bridge into the Willamette River early Saturday along with his older sister, has a history of domestic violence and recently filed for separation from the children's father.
PORTLAND — A mother accused in the death of her 4-year-old son, who fell 75 feet from a bridge into the Willamette River early Saturday along with his older sister, has a history of domestic violence and recently filed for separation from the children’s father.
Amanda Jo Stott-Smith, 31, was taken into custody on the ninth floor of a downtown parking garage Saturday morning, some six hours after her children’s screams were first heard on the river.
She had threatened to jump off a ledge when officers arrived, police said.
A state medical examiner determined that her son, Eldon Jay Rebhan Smith, drowned. Her daughter was taken to a hospital after surviving more than a half-hour in the water.
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Police said Sunday the girl’s condition was improving and she had spoken with officers.
“How she’s not dead is a miracle,” said Sgt. Mike Marshman, a Portland Police Bureau spokesman.
Stott-Smith faces aggravated-murder and attempted- aggravated-murder charges. She is to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.
Stott-Smith filed for separation from her husband, Jason Smith, in March, according to Washington County Circuit Court records. The parents had joint custody of the children, Marshman said.
Court records show Stott-Smith had been charged with domestic assault in 2000.
Early Saturday, the father filed a missing-persons report in suburban Tualatin that helped authorities identify the children, Sgt. Detective Rich Austria said.
At about 1:20 a.m. Saturday, residents reported hearing screams.
Pati and Dan Gallagher, both 50, said they were sitting on their patio, when they suddenly heard a single splash, silence, then screams.
Pati Gallagher called 911, she said, while her husband and a woman out on a river trail yelled out, asking the girl to tell them her location.
“At first it was, ‘Help me,’ ” Pati Gallagher said of the girl’s screams. “Then it went to anguishing horrible screams.”