Echo woman beaten to death

<p class="p1"><span class="s1">Daniel Lee Smith</span></p>

Samantha Lee Brown died from blunt force trauma to her head, Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan said Wednesday. Brown, 24, was the victim of a homicide early this week just outside Echo.

Rowan said the findings from an autopsy supported the apparent cause of death. He also said the sheriff's office executed a search warrant for the residence at 75795 Leezer Ave., where deputies Monday morning found Brown’s body in a camp trailer where 31-year-old Daniel Lee Smith was living.

Investigators may have found the weapon Smith used, Rowan said, but he could not reveal that at this time, nor could he talk about any motive for the crime. Rowan said he needed to protect the integrity of the investigation and prosecution’s case against Smith. Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus has yet to present the case to a grand jury.

That could happen Tuesday, before Smith’s preliminary hearing that afternoon.

Smith remains in the Umatilla County Jail, Pendleton, in lieu of $1 million bail on one count of murder for Brown’s death.

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