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New book explores how Portland mom, Amanda Stott-Smith, early one morning, threw her children off a bridge into an icy river – Leaving everyone still guessing why

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Amanda Jo ‘Mandy’ Stott-Smith, was a loving mother-of-three, who attempted to murder her children in a case that has left many people baffled
Author Nancy Rommelmann’s in her new book “To the Bridge”, explores the morphology of the crime and the extent of the punishment
Around after 1 am on May 23, 2009, she drove to Portland’s Sellwood Bridge and dropped her kids into icy waters
Stott-Smith, then 31, threw daughter Trinity, 7, and 4-year-old son Eldon Smith into the freezing Milwaukee river and drove off
Trapped in a violent, abusive marriage, Amanda Stott-Smith reportedly, suffered from depress an found solace in drinking and drugs
Trinity survived the murder attempt, her brother Eldon, 4, perished so Stott-Smith was only charged with murdering one of child 
in 2010, at the age of 32, she was sentenced to life, with the possibility of parole after 35 years 
Stott- Smith pled guilty to one count of aggravated murder in the death of 4-year-old Eldon Jay Rebhan Smith and one count of attempted aggravated murder of his 7-year-old sister
Amanda Stott Smith 2.jpgPortland mom Amanda Stott-Smith [photo], succeeded in drowning one of her kids, the other survived after she threw them off a bridge in the dead of the night

The reasons why Portland mom Amanda Stott-Smith, succeeded in drowning one of her kids, the other survived after she threw them off a bridge in the dead of the night, are explored by Nancy Rommelmann’s in her new book “To the Bridge”.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on May 23, 2009, Stott-Smith, parked on the Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon. She took her two children, ages 7 and 4, out of the car. She dangled them over the edge, then dropped them into the dark water.
Stott-Smith, then aged 31, was in a violently abusive marriage and turned to drinking and drugs, for escape.

Stott came from a conservative Christian family Rommelmann notes, and was attending George Fox University, a Quaker school in small-town Newburg, Ore.,  where the rebel, eager for male attention lost her virginity and became pregnant in short order.
After her son Gavin was born, Mandy found herself a single mom when the baby’s father joined the Navy.
She applied for food stamps, stayed in school, but continued partying, often leaving the infant with her increasingly annoyed girlfriends.

Soon Stott was pregnant again, this time by her pot dealer.
They became engaged, but he didn’t have much money and the expectant young woman. informed her own grandmother that she didn’t want to marry a cash strapped.
Providence intervened as midway through the pregnancy, her fiancé took his own life.

Trinity, Gavin and Eldon Stott-Smith 1.jpgAmanda Stott-Smith’s three children, [L-R] Trinity Smith, Gavin Stott and Eldon Smith. She targeted trinity and Eldon for murder but only Trinity miraculously survived the ordeal

The pregnant Stott quickly found a new boyfriend, another sometimes drug dealer named Jason Smith.
Smith, 24, and had been in and out of trouble and drug rehab . Importantly he’d also just inherited more than $200,000 from his grandmother.
Considering her new beau a better prospect, Stott and Smith became a couple. She moved in with her son Gavin while she gave up her new baby for adoption.

The material upgrade saw the social climber chauffeured around town and being treated her to shopping sprees at expensive stores, but with one major quirk – Stott’s girlfriends didn’t trust Smith.
Smith’s mother didn’t trust his new girlfriend either, and went to court to seize control of her son’s assets, citing her son’s longtime drug problems and current “abusive relationship with a ‘girlfriend,’ which has resulted in the respondent being financially exploited.”

Sellwood Bridge, Portland, oregon.jpgAmanda Stott-Smith threw her two younger children off Portland’s Sellwood Bridge on May 23, 2009

According to police records, the abuse flowed both ways. Stott gave Smith a black eye;  he in turn tried to strangle her.

The Department of Human Services had a thick running file on the household. On one occasion, paramedics were summoned after Smith left little Gavin locked in a hot car.

Although Smith’s mother wrestled control of her son’s inheritance, she simply used it to pay the bills he kept racking up.
Soon the money was gone, and Amanda was pregnant a third time. Smith proposed and Stott accepted. The couple thereafter welcomed daughter, Trinity.

Their situation improved temporarily when Smith landed a job, but he was still doing drugs, while his wife now with the hyphenated name Smith-Stott, was still partying. Then things went bad again. Mandy would invite friends over and get so drunk that she forgot to cook dinner. Smith would scream at her in front of their kids.

“Wife, shut your mouth!” he yelled. At restaurants he humiliated her by ordering more food than anyone could eat, then telling her how fat she was. She would sneak into the bathroom to throw up. Still te couple had a second child together, their son Eldon.

Trinity and Eldon Stott-Smith 2.JPGHapless victims: Trinity Stott [right] survived, but her 4-year-old brother Eldon [left], did not
Things continued like that until 2008 when Smith walked out on Mandy, with the ultimatum that she had to stop drinking, smoking, lose weight and get a job.
Left with three kids, she went on welfare and smith went into rehab in Eugene, Ore.
When he completed the program Smith informed his wife he was done with the marriage and would not be back.
Stott sometimes would let the children visit their father.
When they returned from visits with dad, they told their mother how ‘daddy had a new friend. She’s pretty, they said, and skinnier than you.

Never before in sync with their daughter’s perspective on life, Stott-Smith’s family were concerned now.
She had always been flighty, now she was distracted, depressed.
They took her to see various psychiatrists, who prescribed various drugs. – “You might go out and kill someone on these,” one joked, “but otherwise have fun!”
Stott-Smith reportedly, sank deeper into despair.

Amanda Stott-Smith 1.jpgAmanda Stott-Smith looks clear-eyed in court in 2009

Te writer does not speculate on the thoughts running through the head of the mother-o-three that night of May, 2009 when she loaded 7-year-old Trinity and 4-year-old Eldon in her car and drove to the bridge. Her oldest son 12-year-old Gavin may have survived because he wanted to stay home with his grandparents.

She dropped her daughter in first. “Help me!” the girl screamed. Then Stott-Smith turned and went back for her little boy.

“Did you just put her in the water or something?” Eldon asked as she picked him up.Those were his last words.

Jason Smith 1.jpg
The children’s father, jason Smith [photo], still doesn’t understand why his ex decided to murder his young children

Afterward she called Smith. He didn’t pick up. When his in-laws later phoned to say Amanda was missing, he finally called his wife back. It was hours before she answered. He asked if the children were OK.

“Why have you done this to me?” she asked him. “Why have you taken my joy away?”

Police tracked her to the ninth floor of a parking garage. An officer grabbed her just as she was about to jump.

Amazingly, Trinity survived the icy water, so Stott-Smith was only charged with murdering one of child
Stott- Smith was formally sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years in prison after having pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated murder in the death of 4-year-old Eldon Jay Rebhan Smith and one count of attempted aggravated murder of his 7-year-old sister. 

 Amanda Stott-Smith 4.jpgAmanda Stott-Smith tried to look away, as she walks past the two poster-size photos of her 4-year-old son on an easel at the front of a Multnomah County courtroom in April 2010

Rommelmann points out that at least eight children were killed by their parents that week, many by their mothers.Yet, in a weird kind of sexism, men are punished more severely. Rommelmann suggests that’s because children are still considered a kind of property, a woman’s property. And who destroys their own possessions? You would have to be insane.

Which is why a man convicted of killing his child has a 72% chance of going to prison. A woman convicted of the same crime? Only 27%.

Amanda Stott-Smith proved the exception to that rule. The death penalty was very much on the table. Her mental state, or any past emotional abuse, was not considered. Stott-Smith wound u[pled guilty.

At the age of 32 she was sentenced to life, with the possibility of parole after 35 years.

That was in 2010, and after seven years of research and reporting, Rommelmann is no closer to a simple, clear-cut answer to why this happened than she was at the beginning. No one really is.

“Mandy did it,” Stott-Smith’s grandmother told the reporter flatly. “She’s guilty; she’s in prison and she deserves to be. But how did she get to that point? … How do you understand the not understandable and forgive the unforgivable?”

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