Family: Woman fatally stabbed while trying to help panhandler died the way she lived

BALTIMORE — Relatives of a Maryland woman who was knifed to death in front of her family while trying to help a panhandler said Monday that she died the way she lived: looking out for others and trying to be kind.

Authorities say Jacquelyn Smith, an electrical engineer from Maryland's Harford County, lowered her car's front passenger side window in Baltimore early Saturday to give money to a young woman who appeared to be holding a swaddled infant and carried a cardboard sign reading: "Please help me feed my baby." Authorities say a man approached the car with the woman for the cash handoff. After a struggle over Smith's wallet, he stabbed Smith and fled on foot with the panhandler.

Smith's grieving 19-year-old son, college sophomore David Hood, described his mother as a strong-willed woman who always taught her children about the importance of generosity and family. He told The Associated Press that she was in the car with her stepdaughter and her husband when she was fatally stabbed in the torso. Her husband, Keith, was behind the wheel at the time.

"I think it was a split second decision of wanting to help somebody else. She really cared for everybody. She loved everyone and was very compassionate," her son said in a phone interview from the family's home in Aberdeen, a suburb some 25 miles northeast of Baltimore.

There have been no arrests in the murder of the Good Samaritan.

Her husband, Keith, told WMAR-TV that she felt moved by the sight of what appeared to be a struggling young mother standing by an intersection on a cold drizzling night. After his wife waved the young woman over, he said a man emerged "out of nowhere" and came walking over to their car alongside the panhandler. With the car's windows down, he said the man asked him if he could thank his wife.

"And within that split second this guy commences to stab my wife," he told WMAR.

The Baltimore Police Department said the male suspect "reached in to grab the female victim's wallet when a struggle ensued." He stabbed her during the struggle, according to a police statement.

A law enforcement team went Monday to the intersection where Smith was slain to hand out flyers and canvass residents. They said the young woman appeared to about 20 and the man was roughly 30.