By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

WHITE BEAR TOWNSHIP, Minn. (WCCO) — The 31-year-old woman found dead behind a business in White Bear Township has been identified.

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office said the body of Sonja Gail Smith, of White Bear Lake, was found near the 1600 block of Whitaker Street on Sunday afternoon.

Friends say Smith walked to her favorite neighborhood bar, Don’s Little Bar, on Saturday night. She was a regular and even listed the bar on her Facebook page.

Friends say Smith apparently decided to walk home and cut through a wooded area, which is filled with marshy wetlands.

Her body was found less than a half mile from the bar and within a few hundred feet of her home.

Investigators say foul play is not suspected and her cause of death is likely hypothermia, from exposure to the cold, wet weather during the early morning hours on Sunday.

“She seemed fine. She wasn’t intoxicated. No, she was dancing. She was enjoying herself,” said Theresa Capaul, who is a server at the bar.

The final autopsy will take several weeks because the medical examiner will perform toxicology tests including blood alcohol tests.

The overnight low that night was 33 degrees with a wind chill of between 27 and 31 degrees.

If you would like to make a donation to help her children, Daisha and Zayne, you can mail them to:

The Sonja Smith Family Memorial Fund
Postal Credit Union 2401 McKnight Rd. North
St. Paul, MN 55109

Comments (26)
  1. LAS says:

    Who died and made you GOD? Unless you have personal knowledge of the case you should keep your mouth shut. How would you like it if it was your relative that someone was making judgements against!

  2. Too Young says:

    Mitch is right. I knew Sonja and she liked to party, talked about drinking all the time. Another person told me that it was her last night and that she was leaving a party when this happened. RIP Sonja and may God watch over your children.

  3. Wendell in Albert Lea says:

    Mitch is right huh? That’d be a first. maybe tell it to his momma and daddy. If you can get the word to his teacher they may let him back into the afternoon section of kindergarten too. Hurry please. thanks

  4. The real point... says:

    Let’s get back to the real point…someone lost a mother, sister, daughter, friend…no matter how it happend there was a loss of a life that was important to someone. Even if this person wasn’t important to you let us all be respectful of the bigger picture. I give my condolences to anyone that Sonja was important to. God bless her soul.

    1. Valentina says:

      Well put!!

  5. A>L says:

    Sad story…I didn’t know her but am from the area……

  6. becky says:

    So sorry for your loss. maybe god bless you daisha

  7. Victim Du Jour says:

    So sad for her Children

  8. high school friend says:

    RIP Sonja! Taken too soon. Praying for your kids, Godspeed.

  9. JWG says:

    I’m so very sorry to read this! Rest peacefully Sonja! You were a friend from long ago and it breaks my heart for the family…I pray for you all…xo!

  10. Laurie says:

    Beacuse shes a grown woman whos life dont stop because you have childern if you have a babysitter and your kids are taken care of you can still have a life sorry your so withdrawn from the real world grow up and quit trying to point fingers its not going to help now.

  11. JWG says:

    Sue…. it’s a waste of time to even read your comment… Get a heart, get a life, and get a clue!
    Laurie….You said it just right!!! Thanks!

  12. Erik Lamb says:

    This is Sonja’s boyfriend for one thing the entire time we were together we have never been to the liiitle bar only went there for a birthday party!!! Sonja and I were not alcoholics and only drank occasionally on a friday or saturday night. So you people passing judgement on a terrific mother and the greatest girlfriend that ever lived…..SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!

    1. Ashley Marie Manning says:

      Sicking how people can pass judgement . Stay strong Erik. My prayers are with you and her family.

      1. Ashley Marie Manning says:

        I have heard nothing but nice things about Sonja and how much of a great person she was and had a great personality to match. Its ignorant of anyone to post such hateful words . They are about as ignorant as they come. I am hurting for this family and her friends, as should everyone else.. not passing judgement. What if this were your mother, sister, daughter, aunt or girlfriend this happend to, I am almost positive that if you read some of the things people have said about this situation, you wouldnt feel so good. So please keep your comments to yourself if you have nothing nice to say, As you can see her loved ones are reading this. Dashia, keep your head held high sweetie, and dont listen to any of these arrogant people . You are your mothers makings and you know what a wonderful person she was, stay strong for your family and little brother. I hope that when these peoples judgement days come.. that their not judged such as Sonja is being because I do not believe in judging others. Until then, my deepest prayers are with you and her family. R.I.P Sonja. ❤

  13. Dashia Lund-Smith (14 year old daughter) says:

    My mom, She was a wonderful person. she was not a REGULER at that bar. She was not an achololic. She worked hard everyday at work and with me and my little brother. If you KNEW my mom, which you dont, valerie and sue… then keep your comments to your self because nothing can be done now but either way, she didnt do this on purpose. im perfectly capable of watching my little brother and being trusted at home. am i not?! you dont know us, and you dont know my mom! We have plenty of people who live in our apartments who would have been happy to help if something would have happened which nothing did. we still have a wonderful stepdad and a great family. and our mom will forever be in our hearts. ❤ i love you mommy, forever.

    1. Ashley Marie Manning says:

      You do not need to justify anything sweetie. Their words are worthless thoughts.

  14. M.C says:

    D and Erik love you! To those of you wo feel the need to bash a stranger than maybe you should go find something better to do. Sonja was a great mom. She always had a sitter if she went out. She mainly went out with friends and family. And her kids were always in good care. Her kids were her life. She was a responsible person who walked home instead of driving. She did everything to try and better her life. Now I’m pretty sure no one bashes you if you drink, smoke, or do something you simply enjoy. She wan’t an alcoholic. Have you never gone out with your friends and family and had a good time? Cuz I mean really life is to short to sit at home and do nothing. Sonja we will miss every second of every day with you. You were an amazing cousin and I’m so glad that our family will be able to continue on carring your memory the right way.

  15. Gretchen Gibson says:

    I did not know Sonja but heard about her from my son Kenny. He thought the world of her and respected her as a person and as a wonderful Mother. She helped him out when a lot of people would have judged him so god bless her. I am very sad for all the family and friends that will miss her.

  16. Andy C. says:

    Eric, I don’t know you But I knew Sonja and her Family. My Sincere sympathy goes out to You, Sonja’s Kids and her family. R.I.P Sonya

  17. Praying for you says:

    God bless Sonja’s family and all those that are suffering with her great loss!!

  18. Brenda J says:

    I have known the Smith family for a very long time, even related by marriage. Heather and Sonja came to my daycare, I even watched Ricky and Dashia for sometime, both of them are great moms even though they were young. and as for you, who only have something negitive to say, take a long long look at yourself before you judge someone you do not even know. This is hard enough on the people who loved her, including me. Her family is hurting bad, maybe you should stop by the funeral tommorow and see how many of her friends and family loved her. for the ever happy, smiling great mom and friend she was
    Rest in Peace Sonja I will be here for your family anyway I can.
    (I will still claim you as my own)

    1. Ashley Marie Manning says:

      Very Nice .

  19. Michael says:

    I used to work with Sonja and her infectious smile will be missed. She was a joy to have in the office because she would just illuminate the space she occupied. My prayers go out to her family and friends, especially her children. Just know that you have memories which will last a lifetime and they will carry you through some difficult days. In life there are no guarantees but a few, and death is one of them. In the meantime, there are things in all our lives that someone else might not agree with. Therefore, those of you who are trying to throw stones should think twice before you yourself get hit with a few. RIP Sonja.

    1. Ashley Marie Manning says:


  20. c says:

    Just look at the photo presented in this news broadcast, the smile that would go ear to ear. You see exactly who she was a fun smiling warm hearted person. Although I have only been part of the extended family you may consider her to be my sister in law. She had a car she had means of transportation, however while you bash someone for drinking and driving that kills multiple individuals, here lays someone that was very responsible, finished her education, and cared greatly of everybody. Since 2007 when i met my girlfriend, we requested almost each weekend to spend time with my girlfriends nephew Zayne. For someone to pass judgment on another individual that you didn’t even know makes you look ignorant. Either way the reporters are to blame to some extent for the biased and unrelated information that they choose to add before the investigation has been finished. Sonja you will be missed by many who loved you and many who thought of you as a friend or family.

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