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  1. #1
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    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
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    Cold case murder defendant asks judge to toss case, says lost evidence could clear him

    http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/cri...8feb42f63.html

    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
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    Judge rejects plea to dismiss charges, trial set for Cashmere cold case

    http://www.ncwlife.com/trial-set-cas...smiss-charges/

    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.

  4. #4
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    Trial date reset for Cashmere cold case

    http://www.ncwlife.com/trial-date-re...shmere-murder/

    This morning Chelan County Superior Court Judge Lesley Allan rescheduled Swaim’s trial to start August 28th with jury selection.

  5. #5
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    http://www.ncwlife.com/ncwlife-evening-news-august-28/

    Jury selection in the trial of 61-year old Bernard Swaim begins tomorrow. Swaim, who is charged with first degree murder in the death of Stephen E. Smith of Cashmere, was originally scheduled to begin court last week. But, his former wife, Dawn Soles, a co-defendant in the case, has agreed to testify against Swaim as part of a plea agreement. Investigators say two days after her arrest, Soles, who had also been previously married to Smith, admitted that she and Swaim plotted to kill Smith as part of a child-custody dispute. Smith’s body was never found.

  6. #6
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    ‘A cold case with a burning secret’; trial opens for suspect in 1982 murder

    http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/cri...6353150cb.html

    On the witness stand, retired Leavenworth dentist Robert S. Smith stared at the forensic photos of a broken tooth, left by a dead man 35 years ago. It was one he recognized.

    “I placed a filling in this tooth,” Smith testified Wednesday before a Chelan County Superior Court jury.

    The dentist was the first to tie the lost tooth to missing Cashmere man Stephen E. Smith, a patient who disappeared in 1982 at age 31, and is presumed dead. Wednesday marked the first full day of trial for Bernard Edmund Swaim, 61, arrested 35 years after Smith’s vanishing and charged with his murder.
    Wetzel is a former law-office employee who established an intimate phone relationship with Swaim in the late 1980s, while he was in prison. She testified Wednesday that she broke off the relationship when Swaim confessed to her he had killed a man.

    “He told me that the person had come at him with a shotgun, and so he threw a rock at him, and it killed him,” Wetzel said. “… He said he had disposed of the body somewhere no one would ever find it.”

  7. #7
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    Bernard Swaim Found Not Guilty in Smith Cold-Case Murder

    http://www.ncwlife.com/11839-2/

    61 year old Bernard Swaim is a free man this evening after a jury found him not guilty in the 1982 murder of Stephen Smith of Cashmere. The weeklong trial ended today in Chelan County Superior Court with the jury returning its verdict about three hours after hearing closing arguments from the Prosecution and Defense.
    http://www.leavenworthecho.com/news/...quitted-murder

    Soles turned into the state's "star witness," but to no avail as her in-court testimony, tape recorded and written statements were peppered with contradictions. Even she admitted to the falsehoods, identified by some as "untruths."

    A harsher word was used about her - liar.

    Apparently that last word was the term that stuck with the jury as witness after witness either called Soles unreliable when it came to the truth or said outright that she has lied on many occasions and can't be believed.

  8. #8
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    http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/cri...e9754afb4.html

    The trial hinged around scant 35-year-old physical evidence and foggy 35-year-old memories. Smith’s broken tooth, recovered from inside a sofa in his home, was the only item from the alleged crime scene that could be found in sheriff’s evidence storage. Other items, such as Smith’s car, a bloodied towel and couch cushion and a wooden axhandle or tool handle, were cataloged by investigators in the 1980s but could not be found when detectives reopened the case early this year.
    Shae noted that Soles’ account of the July 1982 events was supported by testimony from Craig M., who said he heard Swaim threaten Smith’s life while the two were incarcerated in the Chelan County Jail; and Deborah W., who said Swaim admitted in 1988 to killing a man with a rock and hiding the body. Both reported Swaim’s statements to authorities soon after hearing them.

    Swaim walked free Wednesday after six months housed in the Chelan County Regional Justice Center, where Soles remains jailed. Shae said he would hold to his agreement with Soles, which allows her to plead guilty to rendering criminal assistance, a lower-level felony, for her cooperation.

    “She’s fulfilled her obligations,” Shae said.

  9. #9
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    Dawn Soles Sentenced

    http://www.ncwlife.com/12659-2/

    Dawn Soles, the woman convicted as an accomplice in the 1984 murder of her ex-husband, Stephen Smith of Cashmere will serve just 26 more days in jail.

    Soles was sentenced yesterday to 12 months in jail and 5 years’ probation after pleading guilty to rendering criminal assistance, the maximum length of time under the law. Soles has been in jail since March and with time served, her attorney expects her to be released possibly by Halloween.



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