Murder victim identified

Murder victim identifiedBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Emergency personnel responded to a house fire June 30 in the 500 block of Cottonwood Drive, where they recovered the body of Vickie Lynne Ryno-Smith, 54, identified earlier this month by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

After investigations from the Ridgecrest Police Department and Kern County’s Fire Department Arson Unit and Coroner’s Office – authorities determined Smith was killed prior to the fire, which was ruled arson.

RPD officers caught up with the suspect, the late Mrs. Smith’s husband George Richard Smith Jr., 59, who reportedly fled from officers when they initiated a traffic stop. After a brief pursuit, he was arrested without further incident.

According to Mrs. Smith’s postmortem examination, the cause of death was a cut throat.

Mr. Smith is being held on $1 million bail and is facing felony charges of first-degree murder, arson and evading arrest. His pre-preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 13 in Ridgecrest, followed by a preliminary hearing on Oct. 15.

Story First Published: 2020-07-24