CA CA - Lisa Smith, 17, Santa Rose, March 16th 1972

Discussion in '1970's Missing' started by Mysteries1974, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Two for the road

    Two for the road Well-Known Member

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    Who is Linda Smith? This thread is for a women named Lisa Smith that may or may not be a missing persons case related to the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders.
     
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  2. MissLaura

    MissLaura Well-Known Member

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    The Unresolved podcast recently did a 5 episode series on the SRHM. At the beginning of part one, he touches on Lisa Michelle Smith and the other woman who said her name was Lisa Smith:

    The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders — Unresolved

     
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  3. Mysteries1974

    Mysteries1974 Martha Jean Lambert - Missing since 1985

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    I do believe the article was a hoax. Sometimes, this happens. In the case of Misty Copsey for example, she was initially suspected to be a runaway and the media falsely reported that she was found.
     
  4. Diane Redfern

    Diane Redfern Well-Known Member

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    I really think Lisa Smith (missing) and Lisa Michele Smith (located) are two different persons. However, they may have met the same assailant.
    Here there's a Web which includes most of the articles about the Santa Rosa hitchhikers: Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders - Santa Rosa, California
    The administrator of this Web does not believe Lisa was a victim.
    I'm not so sure... maybe all the confusion about the Missing Lisa and the Novato Hospital Lisa has prevented this case to be really solved.
    Is it possible to contact the journalist who wrote the articles? Maybe he/she remembers something.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
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  5. ohthatkatgirl

    ohthatkatgirl Active Member

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    I came across a Lisa Michele Smith, born 04/28/1953 in San Bernardino. She died on 05/06/1999 at the young age of 46. She is buried in Roselawn Cemetery in Livermore. Who knows whether it is her (or either of them) or just a coincidence.
     

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  6. NorthwoodsSleuth

    NorthwoodsSleuth Detective Neil Patrick Hairless

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    Lisa Michelle Smith was found. I've attached the image of the newspaper article from the April 1, 1971 Press Democrat in Santa Rosa CA. I did some ancestral searching and found more info on Lisa Michele Smith. I do believe she was the girl at the hospital, she was living at the time in foster home in Petaluma, her parents lived in Livermore. She married several times (as did her GrandMother)
    Lisa Michelle Smith 1953-1999. Siblings Annette Jean and Nick Martin. Mother Delores Irene Fitch-Smith-Williams, who is still alive and living in Livermore.

    PREVIOUSLY POSTED:
    The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders — Unresolved

    Lisa Michelle Smith was a 17-year-old that ran away from her foster parents' home on March 16th, 1971. Lisa was last seen hitchhiking in Santa Rosa, California - the county seat of Sonoma County - about 55 miles north of San Francisco and approximately 100 miles west of California's capital, Sacramento. While Santa Rosa is now known as an affluent city in Wine Country, just an hour or two outside of the tech-based Silicon Valley, the city had a much smaller population back in the early 1970s... which is when this young woman decided to run away from home.

    Lisa's foster parents would report her missing a short time after her disappearance, and would later learn that she was spotted hitchhiking a short distance away from their home, along Hearn Avenue, at around 7:00 PM on March 16th. At the time, she was wearing a white blouse with ruffles, a dark pea coat, green bell-bottom jeans, and cowboy boots. This would be the last known sighting of the young woman, with neither of her foster parents - nor her boyfriend - coming up with many theories about why she remained missing. Despite there being no reason for her to have done so, police labeled her a runaway.

    On March 26th, 1971 - nearly two weeks later - a woman matching Lisa's description leaped from a moving vehicle traveling approximately 55 miles per hour along Highway 37, just past the Petaluma River, en route to Napa. A passing motorist would describe the incident to authorities as the young woman was rushed to a hospital in Novato - a small city about 30 miles south of Santa Rosa - where she was treated for a skull fracture and multiple severe abrasions.

    While speaking to police at the hospital, as well as nurses, the woman identified herself as "Lisa Smith," and claimed to have been hitchhiking from San Francisco to Sausalito. She said that she had gotten a ride from a man driving a red-and-white late-model Ford truck, which had a horse-like hood decoration, who had started to assault her, demanding sex in exchange for a ride. Since the man wasn't planning on stopping to let her out, this young woman decided to take matters into her own hands, leaping from the vehicle amidst high-speed traffic... leading to her current injuries.

    Hospital staff would describe this young woman as looking 21 or so, and - as I mentioned - she used the name "Lisa Smith," which is about as common a name as possible. Despite her giving up very little specific information about herself or her travels, authorities would begin to link her case to the still-missing 17-year-old from Santa Rosa with the same name - who had disappeared about ten days before this young woman was hospitalized - and local newspapers would begin to report that they were one and the same.

    On April 1st, 1971, the Press Democrat, a newspaper based out of Santa Rosa, would report that 17-year-old Lisa Michelle Smith had been reunited with her family back home in Livermore, having run away to spend a couple of weeks with her friends in San Francisco. It would appear to put a bow on this saga, proposing a happy ending for the young woman at the center of this story, who endured a horrifying situation but was able to survive... making it home to her loved ones.


    This article would detail how the original missing person report from 1971, as well as the young woman's medical records from the hospital in Novato, had gone missing over the years. The officers that had handled the missing teen's case back then - as well as the medical personnel that treated the young woman who leaped from the moving vehicle weeks later - were unable to verify the information reported in various newspapers decades beforehand. Too much time had passed, records had been lost, and those with information about these cases had either passed on or were unable to shed any light on either.

    Attempts to recover any kind of record, in this case, had been exhausted, and both Lisa Michelle Smith (the missing teenager from Santa Rosa) and the young woman calling herself "Lisa Smith" (at the hospital in Novato) had proven impossible to track down. What made investigators' task even more difficult was that no one in the original newspaper reports was named (such as Lisa's foster parents or boyfriend, or the witness that had seen the young woman leap from the moving vehicle). And since "Lisa Smith" is one of the most common names on the planet, trying to track down either woman seemed like an impossibility decades later.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
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