Brian Steven Smith is a 48-year-old South African man accused of murdering a woman in an Anchorage, Alaska hotel. Authorities say he was arrested after a citizen found an SD card lying on the street that contained graphic videos and photos showing the woman being murdered.
Authorities later discovered the woman’s remains. “APD Detectives are working with the Medical Examiner’s Office to confirm the victim’s identity and manner of death. Once that has been completed, and next-of-kin notification has been made, her name will be released,” they wrote in a news release.
According to The Anchorage Daily News, the SD card contained 9 photos and 12 videos depicting a grisly beating and murder. The newspaper reported that Smith is accused of recording himself as he beat, strangled and stomped on the naked woman while shouting at her to die.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Anchorage Police Say a Citizen Found the SD Card, Which Was ‘Lying on the Street’
At 4:06 p.m. on September 30, 2019, Anchorage Police “responded to the 3600-block of Lake Otis Parkway in reference to suspicious circumstances,” according to a police news release.
“A citizen had called APD Dispatch and claimed they found an SD card containing a video of a homicide. Officers met with the caller who stated the SD card was lying on the street in the Fairview neighborhood,” police wrote.
“The SD card contained several videos which appeared to show the assault and subsequent homicide of an adult female. Detectives with the Homicide Unit were notified and began an investigation.” Authorities recognized Smith in the video because they were already investigating him for something else that they haven’t detailed, according to The Anchorage Daily News.
According to the newspaper, the SD card was labeled “Homicide at midtown Marriott” and it allegedly shows Smith stomping on the woman’s throat at one point. Other grisly images show the woman being dragged to a truck. Brian Smith had registered a room at TownePlace Suites by Marriott that night, Daily News reported, adding that the woman might be an Alaska Native. It’s not clear how the card ended up on the street.
NPR reported that the woman in the video is seen “attempting to scratch at the man’s wrist with her right hand to get him to stop. The man strangling the female would stop once in a while and the female would eventually gasp for air,” according to Assistant District Attorney Heather Nobrega.
2. Smith Is Married to a Former Immigration Agent From Alaska, According to Their Facebook Pages
According to his Facebook page, Smith is married. His wife’s Facebook page indicates that she is a “former Administrative Officer at US Immigration and Naturalization Service Anchorage” who has also worked as a “former Personnel Staffing Specialist at Bureau of Land Management – Alaska.” He wrote that they got engaged in 2013 and married the following year. He was now living in Alaska.
His wife is now a singer and actress. Her website says she “copied cartoon voices and arranged shows as a child, but bloomed into acting after retiring.” It says that “during her working years she was a Federal Civil Servant by day and musician by night.”
At 9:14 a.m. on October 2, 2019, officers “responded to milepost 108 of the Seward Highway in regards to human remains being found near the roadway,” the release states.
“Through the course of the investigation, detectives determined the crime took place in Anchorage during the first week of September. They identified 48-year-old Brian Steven Smith as the suspect and believe the human remains are of the adult female in the video.”
3. Smith Hails From Queenstown, South Africa & Served in the Army There
Smith is “self-employed” and went to Queen’s College. He lives in Anchorage but is from Queenstown, Eastern Cape. That’s in South Africa.
On Facebook, Brian Smith shared photos of the Alaskan landscape and snow and commented on the temperature. He shared photos from Heathrow Airport in London and from a friend’s cabin.
In one post, Smith indicated he had served in the Army, writing on a picture of a thermometer in Alaska: “that thermometer is in Fahrenheit. 0F is about -17 Celsius. Coldest I ever experienced was -5C in Bloemfontein while in the army. I believe that this is still warm for this time of year. should be around -20F by now :(.” Bloemfontein is a city in South Africa.
In September, Smith tried to sell a drone via social media. “Almost new foldable drone. Fits in your pocket. Bought it less than 2 months ago. Wife is complaining that I already have to (sic) many toys. Still have the receipt from Walmart so you get the warranty with it. Paid $110. Selling for $75 just to get rid of it,” he wrote. “Local pickup only. If you want to negotiate then the price is $100.”
4. Smith Called Black South Africans ‘Savages’ in a Now-Deleted Racist Post on His Facebook Page
One 2014 post on Smith’s Facebook page is racist. “Please keep sending money to the blacks in Africa so they can buy soap to wash the blood off their hands,” he wrote. “The black africans are only this blatant about their racism towards whites because we have all these bleeding hearts whites who feel sorry for these savages.”
That comment accompanied a share of a video from a site called “whiteresister.com” that was titled “Mandela’s Rainbow Nation: Stoning in the Street by Hate-Filled Blacks in South Africa.” The post is no longer up.
A 2014 photo showed Smith in front of the White House with the caption, “Checking out my soon to be new house. Barry can you please move your butt and get out?”
5. Smith Was Taken Into Custody at the Airport in Anchorage
Police say that, on October 8, 2019 around 3:30 p.m., Smith “was taken into custody at the Ted Stevens International Airport. He was questioned by detectives and remanded at the Anchorage Jail overnight on his outstanding warrant.”
“The Anchorage Police Department extends its gratitude to the citizen who stepped forward with the evidence of this crime. They played an instrumental role in making sure Smith will be held accountable for his actions. This serves as another example of when you see something suspicious, say something,” police wrote in the news release. Smith said in court that he can’t afford a lawyer.
Authorities issued a warrant for Smith’s arrest in a charge of Murder I.