Thursday, October 27, 2011
Krystal Jean Baker
Police have not revealed many details of the crime, or specified how the suspect's DNA ties him to the murder.
Back on March 5, 1996, investigators say Krystal Jean Baker, 13, was seen leaving her grandmother's Texas City house. She was said to be walking to a friend's house in Bayou Vista. That same afternoon, a body was found under the Trinity River Bridge in Chambers County without any identification. The girl was reported missing that evening, and the Texas City Police Department began their investigation.
On March 18(this year,) police revealed a possible match between the missing girl and the body found. It was a match that was later confirmed.
Later, a DNA match lead to the arrest of the suspect.
Offender Name: KEVIN EDISON SMITH
Baker's body was found in March 1996 beneath a bridge in Chambers County. She had been strangled, investigators said.
TEXAS CITY, Texas - For the last 14 years, Jeanie Escamilla could only see her daughter's face in photos.
"If I had any wishes right now, I wish I could wake up out of this nightmare and hold my little girl in my arms," Escamilla says.
In 1996 Escamilla's daughter, Krystal Baker, was kidnapped in Texas City.
The 13-year-old was strangled.
Her body was dumped by the Trinity River Bridge in Chambers County.
For nearly a decade and a half, no one was arrested.
But armed with DNA evidence, authorities arrested Kevin Edison Smith on his 45th birthday Wednesday at his job in Jefferson County.
Texas City Police Captain Brian Goetschius says Smith was surprised by the arrest.
"He appeared calm and it didn't appear he had any idea we were coming to arrest him,’ Goetschius says.
The development came after some of Krystal's family members feared her murder would forever remain a mystery.
Investigators say a recent arrest of Smith in Louisiana allowed them to make a DNA match.
But they won't say why that arrest was made or what Smith's been doing for the past 14 years.
While Krystal's family still has countless questions, they believe the most important one has been answered.
"I'm really thankful right now, cause God has really blessed us by finding this man. This is a miracle," Escamilla says.