Arrest made in 1996 slaying of girl, 13, found under Trinity River bridge

Krystal Jean Baker

Krystal Jean Baker

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by Chris Paschenko / The Daily News

khou.com

Posted on September 24, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 24 at 10:55 AM

TEXAS CITY, Texas — DNA gathered from the 1996 slaying of a girl whose body was found beneath the Trinity River bridge resulted in the arrest of a Louisiana man on a murder charge, authorities said Thursday.

Bond for Kevin Edison Smith, was set at $1 million, after his arrest in Groves on Wednesday, Texas City Police Chief Robert Burby said. Smith was arrested on his 45th birthday.

Smith is accused of killing Krystal Jean Baker, who was 13 when she disappeared at 1:15 p.m. on March 5, 1996.

Baker, who had been reported as a runaway child on previous occasions, last was seen walking from her grandmother’s home in Texas City to a friend’s house in Bayou Vista, Burby said.

Authorities found the girl’s body, which contained no identification, four hours later beneath the Trinity River Bridge in Chambers County, Burby said.

Baker was reported missing at 8:19 p.m. March 5, and on March 20, police learned the body found beneath the bridge was Baker’s, Burby said.

Texas City police worked on the case with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office and was assisted by the Texas Rangers, Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, and state and Jefferson County crime labs, Burby said.

Authorities entered DNA gathered from the crime scene into a national database funded by the FBI, Burby said.

On Sept. 14, the Texas Department of Public Safety matched the DNA to a man who lived in Louisiana, and an arrest warrant was issued in Chambers County, Burby said.

Smith was arrested by the Texas Rangers, Chambers County Sheriff’s Office and Texas City and Port Arthur police departments, Burby said.

This story was brought to you thanks to khou.com’s partnership with The Galveston County Daily News.

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