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Whitney Heichel Murder Suspect Arrested, Attended Victim’s Church

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Gresham, Oregon police announced this weekend that the body of 21-year-old Whitney Heichel was found on Larch Mountain. Heichel’s vehicle and some of her belongings had already been found in a local Wal-Mart parking lot and on trails leading up Larch Mountain. Those clues ended up leading police to the woman’s body.

Though no details regarding the Starbucks barista’s death have been revealed, police have arrested a suspect. According to a Northwest Cable News (NWCN) report, police have arrested 24-year-old Jonathan Holt on charges of aggravated murder. Gresham police stated that Holt was an acquaintance of Heichel and her husband, and lived in the same apartment complex as the couple. Holt also, according to NWCN, had attended services at the Jehovah’s Witness church the victim attended.

No motive for the murder has yet been revealed.

Heichel’s and her husband’s family released a statement this weekend, thanking their community, law enforcement officials, and those who assisted in the search for Whitney. From the statement:

We are profoundly devastated by the loss of Whitney Heichel. She was a loved and valued member of our faith. No words can express the pain and agony her family and friends are undergoing as we cope with the bewildering loss of Whitney. We will continue to support and help one another in this time of grief. Whitney’s family, friends, and members of our faith draw strength from our God, and his words of comfort found in the bible. The outpouring of support from members of our faith has been such an aid in helping us to deal with the pain and loss of such a wonderful person. For us, this is not a surprise, because this is “what we do” as an organization.

Heichel had left for work last Tuesday, October 16, shortly before 7 am but never made it to work. When Heichel’s husband received a call from the Starbucks about her absence, he called 911 to report her missing. The police mobilized detectives and search teams last week, finding that Heichel’s debit card had been used at several ATMs on Tuesday morning, and that a witness saw a man driving Heichel’s SUV with her in the passenger seat.

(Photo courtesy findwhitneyheichel.com)

Whitney Heichel Murder Suspect Arrested, Attended Victim’s Church
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  • Heavy Mettle

    The Jehovah’s Witness bible is missing one of the key commandments: Thou shalt NOT kill.

    • mamacitamal@poetic.com

      There is no “Jehovah’s Witness Bible” It’s simply the Holy Scriptures in modern english. We will still use the K.J. version if some become uncomfortable with it. And we hold life sacred and precious. And it didn’t say he was a Jehovah’s Witness. It said he merely attended the hall. Even specified “irregular”. Just cause I walk in to a country club doesn’t make me a professional golfer.

      • Paul

        …even if he was a “baptized” member who attended somewhat regularly, that doesn’t prevent him (or anyone else) from letting a desire fester in their mind and heart and then eventually becoming fertile, giving birth to sin. He will render an account for his actions. That is beyond our hands. We need to stop saying things like “well…he wasn’t really a congregation member,” because we are ALL susceptible to sin, if we allow ourselves. Obviously, we are not taught to do what he did at the meetings; just the opposite is true in fact. However, we live in a depraved world and people on their own initiative sometimes go against councel, even doing the unthinkable.

        • mamacitamal@poetic.com

          Well put Paul. I agree and should have worded that better in my comment. No matter dedicated or merely attending we all sin and fall short. We are all imperfect and are not immuned to sin. I just pray that this family will stay strong and lean on Jah and the congregation.

        • Dee

          Well said. Being baptized and regular at meetings doesn t make u immune to sin.

  • Dominique

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Heichel family and the community of Gresham for this unspeakable tragedy. As one of Jehovah’s witnesses, we value life as precious. The reports mentioned that Holt attended the Kingdom Hall irregularly. It did not mention he was a congregational member. I hope that the police find the motive for this heinous act and I hope the news presents the facts respectfully and factually and do not associate this egregious event with an attack on someone’s faith.

  • Mrskemp

    The bible is the foundation for all Christians correct? So what about women who have non medical abortions or the soldier who kills in warfare. No matter your faith we are all human and are imperfect. I being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses am deeply saddened for the loss of my spiritual sister and if this was an act committed by one of our own then keep in mind he is imperfect and will render account for his actions. This is not a reflection of our faith but that of the heart condition of an individual. Satan has control also. Do not lose sight of the important thong here a young woman that was loved is no longer here. Focus on that and be sensitive to her families loss. One things for sure she has the resurrection hope.

  • Mrskemp

    The bible is the foundation for all Christians correct? So what about women who have non medical abortions or the soldier who kills in warfare. No matter your faith we are all human and are imperfect. I being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses am deeply saddened for the loss of my spiritual sister and if this was an act committed by one of our own then keep in mind he is imperfect and will render account for his actions. This is not a reflection of our faith but that of the heart condition of an individual. Satan has control also. Do not lose sight of the important thing here, a young woman that was loved is no longer here. Focus on that and be sensitive to her families loss. One things for sure she has the resurrection hope.

    • Debbie Routzen

      Mrskemp,
      You said it right on. Its hard to believe someone who knows Jehovah would ever do such a thing, however anyone can walk into the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Wittnesses since the meeting are open to the public. That does not make him a JW. This just shows how we must be careful who we befriend to closely when not babtized or have a close relationship with Jehovah.

  • itladysd

    Being a person that attends meetings at the Kingdom Hall doesn’t make anyone a Witness any more than standing in a garage makes someone a car.

    I believe that it is important to concentrate on those who have lost so much. Whitney’s family, their extended families at the Kingdom Hall and Mrs. Holt and their faimly members are innocent victims.

    Mr. Holt will stand trial just as the legal system allows. He also has a much higher power to answer to; there is no denying that he will answer for his transgressions.

    Someone very close to Jesus betrayed him as well, that betrayal eventually lead to Jesus excruciatingly painful and humiliating death alongside criminals; this just shows how much we must rely on Jehovah for strength just a Jesus did, and without the Holy Spirit, we would not be able to withstand the unbearable pain of a tragedy such as this.

    Stay Strong, many prayers are bieng said on behalf of all the Brothers and Sisters.
    Becky

  • Lorimme

    It deeply pains me to read this article. But without a doubt in my mind I can see that Satan is trying so hard to break our faith. But he will never succeed because we have the strength from Jehovah. We will never know what all the facts are but we clearly leave this in Jehovah’s hand because he is the judge.

  • Anonymous Brother

    -An Open Message to James Holt-

    Dear Brother Holt,

    “What have you done?” – Genesis 4:10

    It would be undeniable that by now the entire globe is aware of what you have done to two families. A husband. A father and a mother. I’ve seen your most recent photograph, Brother Holt. The look of dread that your are currently experiencing and displaying is due to the fact that The Sovereign Almighty of the Universe, Jehovah God has withdrawn his most precious gift from you…

    His Holy Spirit.

    Tread carefully from this point forward, Brother Holt. You are in dangerous territory. You should know exactly what it is you need to do…

    Get on your knees, son.

    Love your Brother,

    Anonymous