Murder of Mandy Lemaire and conviction of Charles Smithart examined on Cold Blooded Alaska

Police tape

Cold Blooded Alaska is investigating the murder and rape of schoolgirl Mandy Lemaire and the subsequent conviction of Charles Smithart for the crime in the remote town of Tazlina, Alaska.

Smithart’s conviction was thrown out years later, and he was scheduled to have a retrial but died before that could take place.

In the middle of the afternoon on August 22, 1991, 11-year-old Mandy Lemaire was walking near a highway towards her friend’s house when she disappeared near her Tazlina home, prompting a frantic search from friends, family, and the authorities.

Sadly, her remains were discovered ten days later in a secluded wooded area; she had been raped and shot twice in the head. Her body was partially nude, and her limbs had been bruised and showed signs that she had been tied up.

The focus of the investigation quickly turned to a local retired pipeline worker, 61-year-old Charles Smithart. He became a person of interest when witness David DeForest reported seeing Smithart’s truck near where Mandy was kidnapped around the time of the crime.

Smithart’s cousin, Tanya Nutter, later told the cops that she had seen his truck a couple of hours later, not far from where Mandy’s remains had been discovered.

The evidence against Charles Smithart mounted up

A search of Smithart’s truck revealed small traces of evidence that suggested Mandy had been in the vehicle. The cops found two blond hairs in the car and traces of the truck’s mats on her clothing.

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Smithart did his own part to raise suspicions on himself. He behaved strangely when the police confronted him about the evidence in the truck; he asked the state troopers if they had found any of Mandy’s hair or jewelry and whether there was a bloodstain on the seat.

He also continuously commented about how he was sexually attracted to girls as young as 11 and 12. Despite this, he continued to maintain his innocence.

The cops also uncovered traces of iron flecks or globules on Mandy’s clothing which were thought to come from welding. Smithart was a keen welder, and these globules were found in his truck and workshop.

The police also learned that Smithart was suspected of raping his daughter when she was the same age as Mandy.

In 1993, Smirtart was finally convicted of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual battery on a minor, and first-degree murder. He was sentenced to 114 years.

However, there was a further twist in the case; in 1999, the Alaskan Supreme Court threw out Smithart’s conviction. His lawyers had successfully argued that they had been denied the right to assert that prosecution witness David DeForest could have been the killer.

All charges against Smithart were dropped, and a retrial was ordered. However, he died in prison before a second trial happened.

More from Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on ID.

Previously on Cold Blooded Alaska, Paul Stavenjord shot dead couple Deborah Rehor and Carl Beery in the remote wilderness of Alaska and went on the run for months before finally giving himself up.

Maurice Hunter Jr. was gunned down in a Kansas City, KS, trailer park by his girlfriend’s daughter, Alexia Hendricks, who then stole his car. She eventually turned herself in.

Cold Blooded Alaska airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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