For the 138th week of "7 QUESTION SUNDAY" we shine the spotlight on another influential individual from the PNW. Ashley Smith is the host of the Washed Away Podcast that features Washington cold cases. Washed Away brings awareness to these cases as well as talk with family, detectives, and others who have been a part of advocating for the victims.
4EVRGRN: Hey, AS! Tell us a little about yourselves.
AS: I'm a former radio host (s/o to 107.7 The End) turned podcast producer who has lived in Seattle off/on for the last 15 years. Unfortunately, I wasn't born here, but I don't ever plan on leaving and absolutely consider it to be home. In 2020 I started a true crime podcast that covers cold cases here in Washington State, it's called Washed Away, and every episode includes an interview with someone close to the case like a family member, detective, forensic artist, etc.
- How did you get interested in true crime?
AS: I grew up watching CSI and Law & AS: Order with my mom, so I guess that's how I got interested in the genre as a whole. Then I started reading Ann Rule's books and doing Wikipedia deep dives on cases. In 2016, I started listening to the podcasts My Favorite Murder and Criminal and that really peaked my curiosity into all things true crime and got me thinking about how we discuss the horrible things that can happen to people. I realize I'm very lucky and privileged to not have had a firsthand experience that forced me into this field.
- How did the idea come about to do a podcast about Washington cold cases?
AS: I love living in Washington and this state tends to come up a lot when people discuss murders and serial killers and things like that. So, I wanted to take what I do best (which is audio + storytelling) and try to make a positive impact on the place I call home and on the true crime world. My goal with focusing only on cold cases was to not just talk about the worst days of peoples' lives solely for entertainment, but to actually try and help bring attention/closure/justice to victims and their loved ones. Cold cases are unsolved for a reason, they usually lack promising leads or the resources to investigate them and public awareness is a powerful tool that can help shine some light on that.
- What has been your favorite case to research and discuss?
AS: The first episode of the podcast is about a woman named Mary Anderson who I discovered was buried down the street from my house in Ballard. Her story is so mysterious and tragic, and I felt a closeness to her for some reason... I really want to find out who she was (spoiler: Mary was not her real name) and why she chose to end her life in a downtown Seattle hotel room in 1996. Mary is just endlessly fascinating to me.
- What do you hope to accomplish with Washed Away?
AS: I would love to help solve a cold case, ya know, that's the dream. But right now, I'm just hoping to offer empathetic storytelling in the true crime genre, show respect for victims and their families, and hopefully bring some much needed attention to unsolved cases where I live.
- Favorite PNW activity when you need to decompress from cold case research?
AS: Taking my dog on walks whenever it stops raining, grabbing an oat milk latte from a local coffee spot, and going on long drives in my car where I can enjoy how beautiful Seattle is from my driver's side window.
- Best meal in the PNW?
AS: I could eat everything on the menu at San Fermo and probably have, to be honest. Burrata, fresh pasta, and a glass of wine? The absolute best.
- Favorite local product?
AS: Lately I've been obsessed with Chunk's hair clips! They're so cool. Check them out: @chunks.shop on Instagram
You can listen to Washed Away wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow on IG @washedawaypod And visit the website https://www.washedawaypodcast.com for more info!