The Personal Letter Ryan Smith’s Mother Wrote to her Family’s Murderer

This is my personal letter written to Malkhaz Kobauri. Please give Malkhaz a copy of my letter that has been translated into Georgian, in addition to the letter being read to him in court.

Malkhaz Kobauri, I hope you have learned about the wonderful family you killed, how they loved God and served others. Ryan and Lora moved to Georgia in 2011, became Georgian citizens in 2012, and built a house in 2017, planning to live in Georgia for the rest of their lives. Lora taught conversational English in the Azerbaijani school in Marneuli, and private English lessons as well. Lora also provided women’s health care education and emotional healing.

Ryan came to Georgia hoping to revitalize the ancient Azerbaijani carpet weaving traditions that nearly died out during the Soviet era. After much searching, in 2012 Ryan finally found two weavers in a remote Caucasus Azerbaijani village. Through Ryan’s reWoven Rug Project, there are now 20 well paid Azerbaijani women weaving rugs in their homes. ALL the reWoven profits are reinvested in rug village projects chosen by the weavers. Recently, $10,000 in profits purchased 400 sets of plates, glasses and flatware for Kosalar’s Community Center where weddings, funerals and civic events are held. ReWoven is also restoring “Caleb’s Well.” When completed, it will save the village women from having to haul river water several hours a day.

While serving others, Ryan and Lora suffered much personal heartache and loss. Their first child was born in Tbilisi in 2012. Unfortunately, their beautiful daughter Shannon only lived 9 days. Ryan and Lora also lost three more babies through tragic miscarriages. Praise God!! Caleb was born strong and healthy in 2014. Caleb grew to be a very inquisitive, determined little guy, like his daddy. He was a fun, funny, and very bright. Caleb really loved his parents and fun times with all his family back in the USA. He loved camping, riding horses, and “herding” sheep. Besides English, Caleb was also fairly fluent in the Azeri language at age 4.

As you can see, we were and still are very proud of our son Ryan, Lora and Caleb! They have touched so many lives in so many places. These are the loving people you murdered!

When I learned of your despicable actions, I grieved the demonic horrors that our sweet Lora had to endure at your hands as a sexual predator: her fear, her panic, her pain during your savage, degrading, sexual assault; Lora seeing or hearing you shoot her beloved husband Ryan, my son, who was running to rescue her from your depravity; Lora hearing the frantic screams of her precious Caleb when you shot his daddy; then Lora hearing you shoot her only living child, an innocent 4-year-old boy, my grandson, in the head at point blank range to silence his screams. Likely, Lora also heard you shoot Ryan a second time; this time in the head. I do not know the exact timing of your continued sexual assault on Lora or cause of Lora’s death—head trauma, choking or drowning, or all three, but I do know who killed her. You killed Lora too. Everything that you did to Lora, Ryan and Caleb was PURE EVIL and DEMONIC!

As far as I know, Malkhaz, you have not expressed any remorse for your sexual assault on Lora and your horrific murders of our innocent family. And now you are not taking full responsibility for your earlier confession to murdering all three, Ryan, Lora and Caleb, despite having led the police to Caleb’s grave and your gun. There is no evidence that any others were involved in your heinous crime!

Malkhaz, I do want you to know that I am eternally grateful to you for leading the police to Caleb’s grave, and so are our entire family and all of Lora’s family as well. Not knowing where Caleb was would have been more than horrific!! Thank you for your one decent action.

You have no idea the pain, grief, suffering and loss you have caused our and Lora’s families. You have robbed us all of our future joy and fun memories of being with Ryan, Lora and Caleb in Georgia and when they visited us all in the USA. We will miss the fun of watching Caleb grow up, and any other children that Ryan and Lora may have had.

All of us will have many, many, many years of loss and pain ahead—every birthday, every anniversary, every Thanksgiving, every Christmas, every Easter, and every family gathering without Ryan, Lora and Caleb. The 4th of July is a very important and special holiday in America, full of family fun and fireworks, like your New Year’s celebrations. BUT NOW, the 4th of July has become a very tragic day, the day you sexually assaulted Lora and murdered Ryan, Lora and Caleb.

The loss and grief one feels when your loved one dies are very painful; nothing seems quite right any more. But missing Ryan, Lora and Caleb for the rest of my life is far more difficult!

Our family and Lora’s family and many, many friends already miss Ryan, Lora and Caleb terribly! September 12th was Ryan’s 43rd birthday. I cried for 3 days, knowing that I would never see our son Ryan, hug Ryan, talk to Ryan, or share any more family memories together with Ryan because of you. September 22nd was Lora’s very tearful 42nd birthday. How I miss Lora’s sweet smile and laughter; and her fun stories about the funny things Caleb did or said; and her cute videos of Caleb in action! Losing Caleb is probably the hardest of all. Caleb was so full of life and curiosity. He LOVED living in Georgia and coming to visit his family in the USA. Caleb loved making people smile and laugh!

Our family is seeking truth and justice because of your SEXUAL ASSAULT and TRIPLE MURDERS of our innocent family. I request that you be sentenced to a full 30 years in prison without early release or to life in prison so you can never harm or kill other people as you did our wonderful son Ryan, our sweet, thoughtful daughter-in-love Lora, and our precious 4-year-old grandson Caleb.

Malkhaz, you should lose your freedom because you took Ryan, Lora and Caleb’s freedom to live a full and abundant life, serving God and others. You cut their lives way too short! But Ryan, Lora and Caleb did not die in vain, because they did not live in vain. Ryan, Lora and Caleb’s short lives made an eternal difference in the lives of many, and will continue to do so through the many lives they touched in Jesus’s name.

All of our family and multitudes of our friends are praying for you, Malkhaz—and for your innocent family. May God have mercy on you, Malkhaz. May you come to true repentance for your truly evil actions. May you cry out to Jesus, asking for and thanking Him for His complete forgiveness of all your sins, because He died on the Cross to pay the full penalty for every sin by every person for all time—including your sexual assault on Lora and your murdering Ryan, Lora and Caleb.

Malkhaz, you do not deserve Jesus’ forgiveness. I do not deserve Jesus’ forgiveness. No one deserves Jesus’ forgiveness. BUT God the Father, out of His incredible love for you and for me, sent His Son Jesus to earth to live a sinless life so that Jesus would die on the Cross to pay the full penalty for your sins and my sins. Accepting Jesus’ death for the payment of all your sins will allow you to experience God’s complete forgiveness, peace and hope, even in prison.

That is why Ryan’s father, Byron, and I have chosen to FORGIVE YOU for murdering our wonderful son Ryan, our sweet, thoughtful daughter-in-love Lora, and our precious 4-year-old grandson Caleb. We do not want to live in the bondage of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred or ill will towards YOU. We have chosen to trust God to fill the huge hole in our hearts and to enable us to live with our pain and loss of Ryan, Lora and Caleb for many, many years to come.

The Bible teaches us that:

• For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

• Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You sent. John 17:3

• But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

• For the wages of sin is (spiritual) death, but the FREE GIFT OF GOD is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

• For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves. It is a gift of God; not as a result of good works that no one should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9

• Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 10:10b

• (Christ is speaking) Behold, I stand at the door (of your heart and life) and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and fellowship with him and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

[…] At this time, we do not know how the Georgian prison system works, so we are not sure how we can get a Bible to you. But we are working on it! In the meantime, we are praying that a Bible is available to you in jail and prison.

Malkhaz, my letter may seem very strange to you in your culture. The TRUTH is you committed disgusting crimes against our dear family. JUSTICE requires that you pay the just penalty for everything you did. But LOVE covers a multitude of sins 1 Peter 4:8, including all of your sins, past, present and future. Our family is praying that you will accept God’s love and forgiveness found only in Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord, and serve your just penalty in prison without causing pain and loss to others.

In Jesus’ love, grace and mercy,

Evangeline “Lin” Bonsall Smith

1 October 2018, San Diego, California

Link to the letter in Georgian:

07 November 2019 18:20