Friend’s suicide may be linked to suspicious death in Banks

Washington County

Jessica Elizabeth Hart and Syah Redbird died around the same time, investigators say

(Left) Jessica Hart. (Right) Syah Redbird. (Willamette Week via Washington County Sheriff’s Office/WCSO)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The close friend of a woman found dead under suspicious circumstances last month in Washington County also died around the same time, investigators revealed this week.

On Oct. 7, police in Chico, California found 32-year-old Syah Redbird had shot and killed herself after driving there from Oregon. Her death was ruled a suicide.

Syah Redbird. (Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

Redbird had stayed at various addresses around the Portland area before her death, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday. Investigators said she spent “considerable time” with Jessica Elizabeth Hart — a 42-year-old woman whose body was found Oct. 17 in a wooded area about five miles north of Banks. Hart had been dead at least two weeks before her body was found, authorities said, and her death was ruled suspicious. Her cause of death has not been released.

Authorities are unsure if the two deaths are directly connected, but detectives in Chico and Washington County are working together on the ongoing investigation. Family and friends of Hart and Redbird told detectives that both identified as transgender women, deputies said.

Redbird had been driving a white 1994 Ford Ranger; Hart had been driving a 2006 Saab convertible that had been spray-painted white from its original black, deputies said.

Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards for tips that lead to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime and tipsters can remain anonymous. Anyone with information can also contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 503.846.2700 but tips must be submitted to Crime Stoppers to be eligible for any reward.

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