East Vancouver

Fatal hit-and-run suspect's child taken into protective custody, police say

Fatal hit-and-run suspect's child taken into protective custody, police say »Play Video
Police towed away this pickup truck with damage to its front end. They believe it is the pickup involved in the hit-and-run crash that killed two women.

VANCOUVER, Wash. – The 5-month-old child of the man police suspect of hitting a killing two women with his pickup and leaving the scene over a week ago was taken into protective custody Tuesday night, according to a Vancouver police spokeswoman.

Just after 6 p.m. Tuesday, a KATU News reporter observed sheriff's deputies take a young child from Brandon Christopher Smith's mother's house. Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp later confirmed it was the child of Brandon, 27, and his girlfriend, Kalista Jade Andino, 21, and that the child is now in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Kapp did not say why the child was taken into protective custody.

Just after 8 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19, Irina Gardinant, 28, and Raisa Mosh, 45 were hit and killed in a crosswalk on Northeast Vancouver Mall Drive and 72nd Avenue by a white pickup truck. Mosh's 12-year-old son suffered minor injuries.

Two days later, a detective canvassing a neighborhood only a short distance away showed the manager of the Larkspur Place Apartments a photo of the type of pickup – a white Toyota Tacoma – police believed was involved in the crash.

After looking at the photo, the apartment manager said that one of his tenants did in fact have that type of pickup, according to court documents.

Upon checking records, the apartment manager told the detective that the tenant who had the truck was 27-year-old Brandon C. Smith.

That information eventually led police to find Smith’s 2007 white Toyota Tacoma pickup in a detached garage he rented at the complex. They towed the pickup, which had extensive front-end damage, away for evidence processing.

Police also said they've obtained search warrants to take saliva samples from Smith and to examine his cellphone.

Smith has not yet been arrested. Police have said he and several people around him have refused to cooperate in the investigation. They say they are also still processing evidence.

By the time police found Smith shortly after speaking to the apartment manager, Smith already had a lawyer. According to court documents, detectives went to his mother's home. Smith was taken to the police station for an interview but he wouldn't say anything without his attorney with him.

Police have arrested Smith’s girlfriend and his 63-year-old mother, Linda D. Smith. Police have accused them of witness tampering.

According to neighbors at the apartment complex, Brandon Smith and Andino live together in an apartment there, the court documents say.

While police say Andino was in the truck the night of the crash, court documents also say police don't believe she was driving because she doesn't know how to drive a stick shift, and that's what Smith's pickup truck has.

No one's talking

Andino has posted bail, but she is still in jail. Linda Smith was released from jail Tuesday afternoon after she posted bail in the morning. She declined to answer questions from reporters after she was released.

Both women face certain conditions of their release. One of the most significant is that they can't have any contact with other people involved in the case.

Linda Smith will be able to go back home. But Andino will have to find different living arrangements before she can get out of jail because she lives with Brandon Smith.

On Tuesday, KATU knocked on the doors of places Brandon Smith may live. He hasn't answered KATU's questions, either.

Other family members and supporters in court Tuesday wouldn't answer media questions as well.