Lisa Michelle Smith was a teenage girl who went missing while hitchhiking in northern California. She is a possible victim of a serial killer.
Lisa Smith, 17, was last seen hitchhiking on Hearn Avenue in Santa Rosa, California at around 7:00 PM. She was reported missing by her foster parents. They, along with her friends and boyfriend told deputies they could think of no reason why she would be gone that long. Days later, a young woman checked in at the Novato General Hospital sustaining injuries. She was allegedly beaten by a man after he picked her up as a hitchhiker. She gave the name, "Lisa Smith" and was released after treatment. The hospital today has no records of the incident and detectives are unsure whether they were the same person as the patient gave her age as 21 and "Lisa Smith" is a common name. Smith’s original missing person’s report is also missing, likely purged from the system after so many decades.
On April 1, 1971, the Press Democrat reported Smith was found to have hitchhiked to San Francisco after leaving her boyfriend and her disabled car and stayed with some friends on Third Avenue. It also said Smith and the woman at the hospital were the same people and she was returned to her home in Livermore. However, as a 2011 Press Democrat article stated she was still missing with authorities asking the public for assistance, it would appear the April 1, 1971 article is a hoax.
Serial killer theory
Between 1972 and 1973, at least seven girls and young women hitchhiking around Santa Rosa or Sonoma County were murdered. They were all found nude and dumped in rural areas near ravines or creek beds. Authorities speculated Smith could have been a victim, but she disappeared months before the killings began. Several suspects, including the Zodiac Killer, Arthur Leigh Allen, and Ted Bundy have been considered, but no one has been charged as the serial killer.
- White blouse with ruffles.
- Dark pea coat.
- Green bell-bottom jeans.
- Cowboy boots.
- The Press Democrat
- Lisa Smith at The Charley Project (archived)
- Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders on Wikipedia