EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A Fort Bliss soldier accused of killing his estranged wife and hiding her in an apartment storage closet allegedly searched the internet for ways to cover-up the slaying, court documents said.
Terms like “What happens if Police can’t find a missing person,” “shovel,” trash bags,” and “can police trace a bullet to a gun,” were on the search history of Linwood James Smith’s cell phone, according to an arrest affidavit.
Smith, 22, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the homicide of Kerica Robinson, 21. The couple shared an apartment together and was going through a divorce. However, court documents show police believe she was killed at about 11 p.m. on May 29.
Robinson was reported missing on Tuesday and investigators met with Smith at their apartment at the Villas of Zaragoza (1604 N. Zaragoza), before going to El Paso Police Headquarters to give a sworn statement. At headquarters, Smith allowed officers to do a cell phone search, where detectives discovered the suspicious search terms, the affidavit said.
Detectives then began a formal interrogation and Smith, who waved rights to a lawyer, at first gave various stories including that his wife was with a friend in New Mexico. Eventually, detectives told him about the search terms they found on his phone and he “exhaled in a loud manner,” the affidavit said.
His story allegedly still varied from a knife attack, to a shooting in self-defense when Robinson allegedly pulled a knife.
“The reasonable belief of the Investigators was that an offense of family violence had resulted in the death of the victim,” the affidavit said. Smith “later in his recorded interview confessed that the victim was deceased and had expired after his actions of violence against the victim, only to defend himself.”
Smith, who Fort Bliss officials confirmed is a soldier on the post, allegedly told investigators he put Robinson’s body in the storage closet at the apartment, wrapped in plastic. Officers found her body, where Smith said it would be, the affidavit said.
The El Paso Police Department had announced the slaying of Robinson and the arrest of Smith on Wednesday. That same day, the apartment management sent an email notifying residents of the horrific crime.