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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    WA - Stephen Smith, 30, Cashmere, 12 July 1982 *Arrests*

    Stephen has been missing for almost 35 years. Earlier this month, police arrested Bernard Swaim and Dawn Soles; charging them with his murder. Dawn was previously married to Stephen and they had a daughter together. They got a divorce and Stephen was given full custody of their child, Crystal. Investigators believe that Dawn and Bernard carried out a plan to murder Stephen so that Dawn could get custody of her.

    Stephen's body has yet to be found.

    Charley Project

    Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
    • Missing Since: July 12, 1982 from Cashmere, Washington
    • Classification: Endangered Missing
    • Age: 30 years old
    • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male.

    Details of Disappearance
    Smith was last seen at his home in Cashmere, Washington on July 12, 1982. His sister reported him missing on July 18. Several days later, his 1966 Pontiac Tempest was found abandoned on Dead Man's Hill Road near Dryden, Washington. He has never been heard from again. On July 31, when Smith's family members were cleaning his home, they found large amounts of blood on a mattress, towel, sofa and an ax handle, as well as a broken tooth, later determined to be Smith's.

    In March 2017, Bernard Swaim was charged with Smith's murder. Later that month, Dawn Soles, Swaim's ex-wife, was also charged with murder. Smith had previously been married to Soles and they had a two-year-old daughter together, but they were divorced by the time of his disappearance. He had full custody of their child and Soles had supervised visitation once a month. Authorities believe she and Swaim conspired to murder Smith so she could get custody of their daughter. In an interview with police, Soles implicated both Swaim and herself in Smith's death.

    A photo of Swaim is posted below this case summary. He and Soles are awaiting trial. Authorities hope to recover Smith's remains.

    Second arrest made in eastern Washington 34-year old missing person case; Sultan man already in custody

    The portrait the sheriff's office paints of what the agency now believed happened to Stephen Smith is that of a love and marriage gone bad and anger over a child custody battle, as possible motives in the vanishing of Stephen Smith.

    Mr. Smith has never been located and a body was never found.

    On July 18, 1982 Smith was listed as a missing person by family members. He was last seen at his home on or about July 12, 1982. His car was found abandoned a few days later on, ironically, a road called "Dead Man's Hill Road" near Dryden, WA in Chelan County.

    In a statement released Monday Burnett's office said prior to the disappearance of Smith, Soles and Stephen Smith were married.

    "During their marriage they had a child," said the statement. "Ms. Soles and Mr. Smith ultimately divorced prior to Mr. Smith's disappearance. As part of their divorce Ms. Smith was granted full custody (of the child) and Ms. Soles was granted supervised visitation only. Ms. Soles later married Bernard Swaim and they moved to western Washington."

    The statement says on or just before July 12, 1982 both Soles and Swaim traveled from Western Washington to Cashmere "with a plan and intent to murder Mr. Smith."
    Couple pleads not guilty in Cashmere cold case murder

    Two people charged in the death of a Cashmere man in 1982 pleaded not guilty on Monday and their trial has been set for May 9.
    How detectives cracked a 35-year-old homicide case

    Sitting across from a pair of investigators for the third time in two weeks, Dawn Soles was at a crossroads.

    The detectives from the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office wanted to know the truth about the summer of ‘82 when her ex-husband, Stephen E. Smith, disappeared.

    The first time they spoke she said she didn’t know. The second time she blamed it on her other ex-husband, Bernard Swaim.

    Detectives were still skeptical. They’d interviewed her twice in the last three days, each for hours at a time, and they told her they weren’t buying it. Not all of it, anyway.

    Soles “broke down,” a detective said in his report of the conversation. After 35 years, she was ready to tell the story behind Smith’s disappearance. What she would say helped lead to charges of first-degree murder against Soles and Swaim.
    It was July 31, 1982 — 19 days since anyone had seen the 30-year-old Smith. His 1966 Pontiac Tempest had been found abandoned off Deadman Hill Road couple weeks before.

    Smith’s friends and family went to his home in Cashmere at the end of North Douglas Street by a bend in the Wenatchee River. Inside was a bloody mess.

    They found a large amount of blood on a couch. Between the cushions was a tooth. A dentist determined the tooth was Smith’s and it had been broken from his jaw.

    There was blood on a mattress and an ax handle, too. A pan was filled with bloody water and a bloody towel found nearby, leading one witness, Derek Weldon, to speculate that someone had tried and failed to clean up the scene.

    When asked by detectives in 2017 what the room looked like, Weldon replied, “Like someone was murdered.”
    According to Soles: That night, Soles and Swaim walked to Smith’s house from the hotel they were staying and then began drinking heavily with Smith. Crystal was there, as well. Eventually, Smith passed out. He never woke up.

    Swaim told Soles to take Crystal into a back room and stay there until he said it was OK to come out, Soles said. She heard two or three loud smacks, which she believed was Swaim beating Smith. Swaim later told her he’d used a rock from the front yard to bludgeon Smith to death, Soles told detectives.

    After about an hour and a half, Swaim said they could come out. There was blood on the couch where Smith had been sleeping, Soles said. She added that Swaim later put Smith’s body in a sleeping bag and then used Smith’s car to take the body to an unknown area.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Cold case murder defendant asks judge to toss case, says lost evidence could clear him


    Swaim’s attorney Nick Yedinak said in a Chelan County Superior Court hearing Tuesday that old notes from sheriff’s investigators indicate someone may have confessed to the crime during the 1980s; a welfare check made out to Smith was allegedly cashed sometime after his disappearance; and a witness claimed to have seen Smith alive more than two months after he went missing.

    “That’s clearly exculpatory evidence that we don’t have any longer,” Yedinak told Judge Lesley Allan.
    Both Swaim and Soles are scheduled for trial Aug. 22. Allan scheduled another preliminary hearing to take more argument Aug. 14.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Judge rejects plea to dismiss charges, trial set for Cashmere cold case


    The trial is set to start Tuesday with jury selection. Swaim and Soles are alleged to have conspired to kill Smith who had also been previously married to Soles. Smith’s body was never found.

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