American-Georgian family who promoted Azerbaijani carpet weaving found dead in Georgia

Ryan and Laura Smith with their son

Ryan and Laura Smith with their son

Ryan and Lora Smith with their son Caleb

Ryan and Lora Smith with their son Caleb

The bodies of Ryan and Lora Smith and their four-year-old son Caleb have been found in the Georgian region of Dusheti where they were vacationing.

The family was reported missing on 6 June. The body of Lora Smith was discovered later that same day in Khada Gorge, and on 7 June her husband Ryan's body was found a kilometer away. Their son Caleb remained missing until today.

This morning, Georgian media reported that a 19-year-old shepherd led police to Caleb's buried body. Locals told the media that the 19-year-old had sexually harassed Lora Smith, leading to a physical confrontation with her husband. The young man was reportedly armed and is alleged to have shot the entire family. He has reportedly confessed to the murders and is currently in police custody.

Ryan Smith was the founder and director of reWoven, a project to revive and support the tradition of hand-woven carpet weaving in Georgia’s ethnic Azerbaijani community. The family had dual American-Georgian citizenship and lived in the Marneuli region of Georgia, an area where Azerbaijanis make up a majority of the population.

In 2016, Meydan TV published this video report on reWoven:

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