Banks, Crime, Police

Case involving woman found dead north of Banks linked to another death in California

The case involving a woman found dead north of Banks is now tied to another case of a woman who was ruled to have died by suicide in California, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said. 

The sheriff’s office first revealed October 22 that Jessica Hart, 42, was found dead about five miles north of Banks and reported to law enforcement October 17. 

Hart was found in the area of NW Sellers and Linklater Roads, and her death was determined by detectives to be suspicious. 

Now, a friend of Hart’s is dead, dying in early October in California. 

“Investigators learned one of Hart’s friends also died in California around the same time,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon. In partnership with Crime Stoppers of Oregon, the sheriff’s office is seeking public assistance in the investigation surrounding Hart’s death.

On October 7, the Chico Police Department determined that Syah Redbird, 32, had driven from Oregon to Chico, California, then shot and killed herself. 

Syah Redbird. Photo courtesy Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Redbird, said to have stayed around the Portland Metro area at various locations, was driving a white 1994 Ford Ranger.

After the cases were connected, detectives from both law enforcement agencies began working together. Their investigation noted that in the weeks and days before their deaths in Oregon and California, Hart and Redbird spent considerable time together in Oregon. 

“Family and friends of Hart and Redbird told detectives that both identified as transgender women,” the sheriff’s office said. 

Willamette Week profiled Hart and several other people in a June 16 cover story examining people living in motel rooms as a last resort before homelessness.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office outlined how to submit information on this and other cases, which is included below. 

Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers rewards of up to $2,500 cash for information reported to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime, and tipsters can remain anonymous.

Anyone wishing to submit a secure and anonymous tip regarding any unsolved felony crime should visit or visit the App Store and download P3 Tips for your smartphone or tablet. 

Crime Stoppers of Oregon is funded 100% by community donations. To support Crime Stoppers with a donation, or to view other unsolved cases, please visit 

If you wish to speak directly with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, you may call 503-846-2700; however, please note that you must report your tip to Crime Stoppers to be eligible for any reward.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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