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Washington woman arrested on murder charges in death of toddler

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Washington state woman was arrested on Sunday on murder charges after her two-year-old daughter was found dead and her teenage daughter badly hurt in an Oregon resort hotel, officials said.

Police in Cannon Beach, 80 miles (130 km) west of Portland, arrested 40-year-old Jessica Smith just off a logging road near the resort, police told a media conference. She was charged with aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder.

Aggravated murder is the highest murder charge in Oregon and can carry a potential death sentence, authorities said.

A housekeeper discovered the dead toddler in a room at the Surfsand Resort on Friday, police said. Smith's 13-year-old daughter was also in the room and had been badly cut, police said.

The teen underwent surgery in Portland and was recovering, according to the Oregonian newspaper.

An autopsy did not reveal the cause of the two-year-old's death but concluded it was a homicide, police said, adding that a toxicology report was pending.

Smith, of Goldendale, Washington, checked into the hotel on Wednesday, Oregon media said.

Smith was expected to be arraigned on the charges on Monday afternoon, officials said.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle, additional reporting by Curtis Skinner in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Paul Tait)

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