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Grimes County deputy who befriended, aided missing boy's family now promoted to leadership role

Posted at 9:35 PM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 22:35:33-05

ANDERSON, Texas — She was the comforter and voice of a family trying to cope with the horror of searching for their lost child. Now, she’s using her talents of bravery and people skills to lead other police officers.

In last year’s four-day search for then-missing child Christopher Ramirez, Grimes County Sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. Martha Smith was considered the emotional stronghold of the case, for the family and many others involved.

Last Friday, Sgt. Smith was promoted to lieutenant and is taking on a new role leading the department’s patrol division.

“She is someone who has a very big heart for being a public servant," said Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell. "... She has a really natural way of just being a people person, too.”

Smith has been a member of the sheriff’s office for nearly 20 years and has found great joy in working with children as a school resource officer. Her passion, she said, is to serve people, and to support them through good communication.

“I want to bring changes that will motivate the deputies we have here and invest in the deputies that we have here," Smith explained. "... I’d like to help them get to where they want to be.”

Smith has maintained a special relationship with Ramirez’s family, whom she supported and translated for through the investigation last year. Spending time with Ramirez's mother Araceli across those four days changed who Smith is as a police officer, and as a person.

“My faith was slowly slipping away," Smith recalled. "And speaking to Araceli, she never gave up hope, and she never lost faith. She restored that you should keep that faith going and continuing.”

Smith shared that growing up in Navasota with Spanish-speaking parents, she knew since she was young that she wanted to be a police officer so that she could be the voice connecting the Hispanic community to law enforcement. Now, she has been able to realize her dream – and to form a lifelong relationship with the Ramirez family.

“Christopher has built a relationship with my husband," she noted. "So, Christopher’s biological father is in Mexico, and Araceli was telling me that she feels Christopher has found a bond with my husband.”

Smith has filled the leadership role left vacant by Capt. Ryan Rutledge, who just retired from the Sheriff's Office in order to take on the role as police chief of Todd Mission, beginning March 1.