Man arrested for murder near Sisters
Last updated 6/7/2022 at Noon
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) deputies arrested 22-year-old Alexander Mark Smith of Redmond on Friday afternoon for murder and multiple other charges in connection with the death of 55-year-old Sisters-area resident Tina Lynn Klein-Lewis.
Lewis’ body was found on Tuesday, May 31, on her property at 67450 Cloverdale Road, which is near the intersection with Highway 20 east of Sisters. According to the District Attorney, she was found by her boyfriend in the bucket of a tractor.
The DA reported that on June 3, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a welfare check call at 16373 Jordan Road east of Sisters.
The caller reported that an unknown man on the adjacent property asked him to call medics because he had infected feet and needed medical attention.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived, located the person who was alleged to be in medical distress, identified as Alexander Mark Smith, and eventually arrested him for the murder of Tina Klein-Lewis.
He was lodged at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Adult Jail on charges of second-degree murder; abuse of a corpse; second-degree burglary; trespass; unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle; and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
There is no known connection between Smith and the victim.
Some neighbors in the Cloverdale Road area have expressed dissatisfaction with the way information was provided by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. News releases from DCSO provided little detailed information on the initial death investigation, which DCSO spokesman Sgt. Jayson Janes explained this way: “There is a large amount of evidence that still needs to be processed and analyzed in order to get the most accurate account of what took place. We understand the need for information. Our goal is to conduct the most complete and thorough investigation possible. Further information will be released when it will not affect the investigation.”
Judey Berray, who lives off Cloverdale Road, told The Nugget that she and other neighbors think DCSO would have held a press conference and provided enough information to assess a potential threat to their safety.
“The overwhelming feeling was that the information being provided (by the Sheriff’s Office) was very vague. Are we supposed to be on the lookout for someone?” she said.
“Finding out days later that it was someone who was possibly on the loose in our neighborhood was very frustrating. And we’re not the only ones who feel that way. It just felt like they let us down as neighbors. Did they know that there was potentially a murderer on the loose in our neighborhood and they didn’t tell us? Where had he been all that time?”
When The Nugget reached out to the Sheriff’s Office regarding citizen concerns, Sgt. Janes provided a statement:
“The Sheriff’s Office has heard the concerns from residents in the Cloverdale Rd. area.
These types of investigations are complicated and not always clear cut. Determining the cause of death and processing evidence takes time. DCSO detectives were continually working on the circumstances of Tina Klein-Lewis’ death up until the arrest was made for her murder. We are not always able to release as much information as the public would like during these complex and extremely important investigations. One of our highest priorities is to maintain the integrity of the investigation and ultimately achieve successful prosecution if and when a case goes to court. We endeavor to keep the public informed while not jeopardizing the integrity of an investigation.”
A man who says he played a stepfather’s role in the life of the accused killer reached out to the news station KTVZ in Bend over the weekend. KTVZ reported that Michael Moorman said that Smith had been a standout student and athlete in Redmond and was on track to graduate from Oregon State University with a chemical engineering degree when he dropped out of school last year, and began to exhibit signs of serious mental illness. Moorman said the family was unsuccessful in obtaining help for Smith, and reported that Redmond police released him after arresting him for trespassing and theft.
KTVZ reported that Moorman told them, “When you are telling law enforcement that somebody is escalating mentally, and they’re not doing anything about it, or they can’t do anything about it, then there’s a major flaw in the system.”
In a media statement, District Attorney John Hummel said, “By all accounts, Tina Klein-Lewis was a loving, kind, and gentle person. She leaves behind many people who loved her. Tina Klein-Lewis’ absence creates a void in our community. My colleagues and I in the District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, are giving this investigation our full attention and we will ensure that justice is done.”
This is a developing story and more information will be provided as it becomes available.