Father, daughter who blamed killing on panhandler flown back to Baltimore to face murder charges

The husband who blamed his wife's stabbing death on a panhandler was flown back to Baltimore early Thursday morning along with his daughter to face charges in connection with her murder.

Keith Smith and his daughter, Valeria Smith, arrived by plane at 12:25 a.m. in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department's Warrant Apprehension Task Force. Video released by Baltimore City Police show the father and daughter being escorted off of a plane and into a vehicle. They were transported to Baltimore's Central Booking Intake Facility.

The real-life crime saga began last year when Keith Smith's wife, electrical engineer Jacquelyn Smith, was fatally stabbed in December. Her husband reported that she was attacked in Baltimore after handing $10 to a roadside panhandler who appeared to be holding a baby.


But earlier this month, authorities announced that her husband's story wasn't true and Keith Smith and his 28-year-old daughter were facing first-degree murder charges.

The two were arrested March 5 in a Texas border town during what police call a desperate dash for Mexico. The crime attracted national attention and prompted many people to regard panhandlers warily.

Officials said that the two concocted the story and took advantage of negative perceptions of Baltimore crime.

Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh's office released the following statement following the initial charges being filed:

"Like everyone in our city, state and across this nation, we mourned the senseless killing of Jacquelyn Smith. To now learn that family members staged this brutal killing is beyond belief and represents a double tragedy. They were responsible for taking Jacquelyn's life with unconscionable cruelty and contrived to do so in our city under the guise of random violence, exploiting the legitimate fears of our residents. I commend our homicide detectives for their expert and tireless work in bringing those truly responsible to justice in this very troubling and sad case."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.