(NewsNation) — Police are urging caution as people in Portland, Oregon, wonder if a serial killer is on the loose.
Six women have been found dead in a 100-mile area over the past three months. All of the victims are in their 20s and 30s, their bodies found in rural wooded areas. One of the women has yet to be identified.
There’s a lot of fear and speculation as to who could be behind the six deaths, but Portland police are trying to shut down mounting anxiety. At this point, police say they have not found any sort of connection between the six deaths.
Authorities released a lengthy statement, saying in part “while any premature death is concerning, and we will diligently investigate deaths that happened, the Portland Police Bureau has no reason to believe these six cases are connected. We ask that our community be aware of the facts about these cases before sharing speculation.”
“The Portland Police Bueau is assuring our community that if we learn of any articulable danger, we will notify the public about it,” the statement continued.
The deaths began in February and continued through May, with five of the deceased found in Oregon and one in Washington.
The first was on Feb. 19, 2023, when 22-year-old Kristen Smith was found dead on the border of Portland and Happy Valley, Oregon. Her cause of death has not been publicly disclosed.
On Apr. 8, 2023, the body of 32-year-old Joanna Speaks was found in rural Clark County. Her death is the only one that has been officially ruled a homicide at this time. A medical examiner said she showed signs of blunt-force trauma to the head and neck.
Two weeks later, on Apr. 24, Charity Perry was found in a culvert near Ainsworth State Park. Her death has been labeled suspicious.
That same day, an unidentified woman was found dead in a tent. Police said there is no indication foul play should be suspected in that case.
Less than a week later, on Apr. 30, Bridget Webster was found dead in Polk County. Her death has been labeled as suspicious.
On May 7, Ashley Real was found in Clackamas County, and police said her death is also considered suspicious, but have not deemed it a homicide.
Missing persons detectives are also looking into the case. While all the deaths have been in a close area, they were in rural unincorporated areas, so the investigation involves multiple agencies, including several sheriff’s departments.
While authorities are still working to put the puzzle pieces together and get more information to the public, Portland police are standing by their statement and said they are not conducting any additional interviews until they have more to go on.