The body of an Oregon woman found this month in front of an abandoned barn in Washington state appears to have been «relocated» there and her death is now being investigated as a homicide, authorities said.
Joanna Speaks, 32, was found dead near 8004 S. 5th St. in Ridgefield, a city about 22 miles north of Portland, shortly before 6 p.m. April 8, the office of the state medical examiner announced. Clark County last week.
The sheriff’s office said «there are indications that the body was moved to this location.» No other details about the circumstances of the body have been released, the sheriff’s office said, and no suspects have been publicly identified.
Speaks’ older sister, Robyn Speaks, he told NBC affiliate KGW of Portland that her sister’s death «just doesn’t make sense.»
Speaks’ half-sister, Ariel Hamby, said «cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and neck, and that’s all we know,» according to the news station.
NBC News could not immediately contact the Clark County Medical Examiner’s office Tuesday morning to confirm Speaks’ presumed cause of death.
Hamby told KGW that Speaks’ death «keeps me up at night.»
«I mean, that’s violent,» he said of the alleged cause of death, «and that person is walking.»
The sheriff’s office is seeking information from anyone with knowledge of «suspicious persons or vehicles at or near» the location where Speaks’ body was found, according to its announcement last week.
«If you have recent contact with Joanna Speaks or have any information about where she has been staying or who she has associated with, please contact detectives,» the sheriff’s office added.
Speaks had a history of fighting addiction, according to a GoFundMe page that Hamby and Robyn Speaks created to raise money to pay for his cremation and burial services.
Hamby wrote that «in the last 3 weeks of her life she had been looking for housing and guidance to clean herself up and be a part of her children’s lives.»
Speaks has three children: a 7-year-old girl and two boys, ages 12 and 13, according to the GoFundMe page.
Informing the children of their mother’s death, Hamby wrote, «was one of the most difficult and heartbreaking things we’ve ever had to do.»
“Her children have made it clear that they would like to have a piece of her, but also have a place to visit where her name and life will be engraved and never forgotten; hopefully we can at least give them that,» Hamby added on the GoFundMe page.
The family is also hoping to find Speaks’ killer, they told KGW.
“We are not a family that gives up and we will not stop finding answers…doing whatever it takes to get some kind of peace for her,” Robyn Speaks said.
“And that we will find them,” added Hamby.