Saturday, May 21, 2022

Houston K-9 stabbing suspect Ryan Smith is on the run following discovery of father’s body, police say

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A suspect who was bonded out of jail by family members after being charged with stabbing a Houston Police Department K-9 dog over the weekend is now being sought as a person of interest in the death of his father, whose body was found early Tuesday, hidden in the garage of his home, police say. 

Ryan Smith, 26, remains on the run after crashing his father’s truck during an overnight police pursuit and disappearing into the woods near Houston’s sprawling Memorial Park, according to investigators. 

“Given his previous charge – and what we are looking at now, I think it goes without saying that he has tendency for violence,” Cmdr. Kevin Deese told reporters. “So we have been in contact with other family members who aren’t in this area to put them on notice.” 

Ryan Smith is on the run Tuesday and is considered a person of interest in the death of his father. 
(Houston Police Department)

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The criminal saga began Saturday morning when Houston Police say they received a call about an attempted carjacking. 

“Witnesses stated Smith had left the location and went to a nearby store where he stole merchandise and fled,” police said in a statement. 

Investigators then tracked Smith down to an apartment parking garage, where “he attempted to evade officers” but was taken into custody behind a building. 

However, a K-9 dog named “Nate” — who was the first to catch up to Smith at the eventual scene of his arrest – suffered a “deep stab wound to the chest area” after Smith apparently attacked the animal with a butcher knife, Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite told reporters over the weekend

“He’s a very valued member to the team – he’s done great work so obviously we are all very concerned for him,” Satterwhite said about the dog, who is now recovering with his police handler after undergoing surgery. 

Nate, the K-9 wounded over the weekend, is "is out of surgery and resting well," the Houston Police Department says. (Houston Police Department)

Nate, the K-9 wounded over the weekend, is “is out of surgery and resting well,” the Houston Police Department says. (Houston Police Department)

Smith was charged with evading arrest, interference with a police service animal and robbery with bodily injury, according to police. 

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The next day, Deese says family members bonded Smith out of jail, and he was brought back to stay at his father’s home in western Houston. 

But on Monday morning, the family members grew concerned they hadn’t heard from Smith’s father, Deese continued.  

They went over to search the property and “didn’t find anything of immediate concern” other than the father had left his cell phone behind, which was “uncharacteristic” of him, Deese said. 

Later that day, investigators descended on the home for a second search – and while that was ongoing, they noticed a pickup truck belonging to Smith’s father had parked down the street with its lights off, Deese said. 

Police describe Nate as a "valued member to the team".

Police describe Nate as a “valued member to the team”.
(Houston Police Department)

After confirming that Smith was in its driver’s seat, he raced off and led police on the chase, which culminated in Smith crashing the truck and fleeing on foot, according to Deese, who added that investigators found a gun inside the vehicle. 

Homicide detectives then continued the search at the home and early Tuesday found the father “in the garage dead from what is apparently not natural causes,” Deese said. “He was hidden in a location that made it very difficult for anybody to find him which is why when the family came by the first time they probably did not see him.” 

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Police did not release the name of the father or his cause of death – but noted there were no apparent signs of a struggle at the home. 

Deese says he considers Smith “dangerous” and is warning anyone who spots him to call police. 

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