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)