The recent kidnapping of a cannabis retail employee has ended in tragedy after police discovered his body late last week. On September 10th, 46-year-old Cameron Smith was reportedly kidnapped at gunpoint from the parking lot of Lucid Marijuana in Cheney, Washington. Police said that Smith was taking a lunch break in his car when a man and his niece kidnapped him and stole his vehicle.
Smith's wallet was found on the Spokane Indian Reservation on Monday, and his vehicle was discovered the next day. Search teams spent several days looking for Smith on the reservation, to no avail. On Friday afternoon, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office search and rescue team finally discovered Smith's body concealed near a state road.
Police identified the suspects as 36-year-old Donovan Culps and his 18-year-old niece Violetta. Donovan Culps was arrested on Thursday after a high-speed vehicle chase that ended with Culps crashing his car into a tree. Culps was booked into Spokane County Jail and charged with first-degree robbery and kidnapping. Now that the body has been found, Cheney police may also charge him with first-degree murder.
Violetta Culps is still on the run, but the Yakima County Sheriff's Department have said they have a general idea of her whereabouts. Police also arrested 18-year-old Alisha Jackson in connection with the case. Jackson was allegedly present during the kidnapping, and has been charged with failing to report a felony.
Lucid Marijuana owner Michael Schofield said that he worked with other members of the local cannabis community to search social media for clues about Smith's kidnappers. They managed to track down information on Culps by creating fake social media profiles, which they then forwarded to police. “There was a lot of Facebook posts coming from the suspect alluding to what had happened, so it wasn’t a surprise,” Schofield said.
Schofield is planning a memorial service for Smith, and hopes to organize a fundraiser to pay for sending his body home to his family in Ohio. “Cam was just a really solid individual,” he said. “People thought it was so senseless. It’s hard.”