Cheney man remembered as a family man with huge heart

CHENEY, Wash. - Friends and family who knew the man abducted during his lunch break in Cheney last Sunday said they're remembering his life and the legacy he leaves behind after this random act of violence. 

Police arrested 36-year-old Donovan Culps Thursday in Goldendale for the abduction and robbery of Smith. Culps was booked into the Spokane County Jail on charges stemming from the crimes he's accused of.

According to a release by the Cheney Police Department, at about 3 P.M. Friday, the Spokane County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue Unit found Smith's body near 6th and Garfield Street, outside of Four Lakes. Authorities say he was several feet from the road and hidden in the grass. 

Many people who know and love Smith told KXLY that they can't believe this happened to him. They're turning to each other for support now. 

"You know, it's so hard to just put a label on what kind of a person he was. He was just genuine, 100% genuine, kind, sweet, relatable," Stacia Shirley said. 

Shirley first met Smith last year, when he started working at Lucid, a marijuana retail outlet in Cheney. She said she knew he was someone special the day she met him. 

Now, there's a memorial growing outside of Lucid, where Shirley is the manager and where Smith used to work. It's just one way that people are honoring Smith and staying strong. 

They say that's what Smith would want. 

"It's hard to lose somebody as good as Cam, but, I'm trying to keep everybody positive. I'm trying to keep everybody in a good place, because that is what he would want," Shirley said.

For Smith's friends and family, there's not enough time to describe exactly what kind of man he was. Many people called him a friend, a cheerful face in the store and a family man.                          
"I want people to know that he was so proud of his family. He was so proud of his grand babies, his daughters. He loved every one of them and he always spoke of them," Shirley said

Smith first started working at Lucid when the store opened its doors last November. Shirley said he welcomed everyone in with a beaming smile.

"He may have only met you once but he made it very clear that he remembered you," Shirley said.

The Toledo, Ohio native quickly found family and friends in Cheney.

And as they mourned this loss, Shirley said they're honoring his memory by doing what they think he would want.

"Just be strong. And that's exactly what he wants us to do, is to be strong, and to just remember,” Shirley said.

There is a benefit Saturday to raise money for for funeral expenses. The event is at Lucid in Cheney. It starts at 7:30 P.M. The public is welcome to attend. 

Event coordinators say there will be ribbons for donation at the event. On Monday, ribbons will also be available at TTT Auto on East Sprague Avenue. Donations can also be made at Lucid in Cheney.