|It was a ordinary Wednesday afternoon in 1980 when Etta Louise Smith, a Lockheed shipping clerk heard a radio broadcast about a house to house search for a missing nurse. "I immediately thought, She's not in the house," Smith recalls. "Then I had a visual picture, as if there was a photograph in front of me. The women was dead.
Spurred by her vision, the 39 year old Smith, a mother of three, stopped by the police station to talk with investigators. Then she went out to the remote canyon site she'd visualized hours earlier. It wasn't long before she found the beaten and raped body of 31 year old Melanie Uribe.
|Twelve hours later, to her horror, Smith was booked on suspicion of murder. During her four day stint in jail, one of the killers told a local resident about the murder and was arrested. He confessed and implicated two accomplices, who were also arrested, charged, and later convicted of the crime.
Vindicated, Smith filed suit against the city of Los Angles for false arrest. Superior Court Judge Joel Rudof ruled that the police had lacked probable cause and sufficient evidence to tie Smith to the killing. The jury (the majority according to the foreman, believed that Smith did have a psychic experience) awarded her $26,184.
The assistant city attorney, Michael K. Fox, who defended the city, remains skeptical. "Whether or not Smith had a psychic experience I don't know, It's been the belief of the police, and I agree, that she had knowledge somehow, perhaps through talk in the neighborhood."
As for Smith, she says "Maybe in the future, I'll call in anonymously."