PORTLAND – On Friday morning, police arrested 24-year-old Jonathan Holt of Gresham for aggravated murder in the death of Whitney Heichel after they gathered evidence for three days tying him to the murder.
Holt was moved from the Multnomah County Detention Center to the Clackamas Count Jail Sunday morning because officials believe the murder happened in Clackamas County. He is on suicide watch until he is given a mental evaluation.
Detectives first received information on Wednesday that led them to question Holt regarding Heichel’s disappearance. He voluntarily came to the police station for an interview, and detectives learned he was an acquaintance of Heichel and her husband.
It was also revealed he lived in the same apartment complex as the couple.
After the interview, Holt was free to go.
Police found evidence in a Wal-Mart dumpster near where Heichel’s SUV was found, and they later found clues including a license plate on Larch Mountain near where her body was later found. This led detectives to conduct a second interview with Holt, which they said had many inconsistencies from his first interview.
During the second interview, detectives took fingerprints and DNA from Holt.
Timeline: The search for Whitney Heichel
On Friday morning, the crime lab received additional evidence tying Holt to Heichel’s car. Holt was asked to come in to the police department for an additional interview and was placed under arrest. Around that same time, detectives at Larch Mountain located Heichel’s body.
“I have never been prouder of the work of not only the Gresham Police Department, but also of the assistance provided by Multnomah County Sheriffs, Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, the Oregon State Police and crime lab, Troutdale, Clackamas County Sheriffs, search and rescue teams from Multnomah County, and the FBI,” said Chief Craig Junginger with the Gresham Police Department.
Holt was lodged at Multnomah County Detention Center but will be prosecuted in Clackamas County with a Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney working with the DA’s office there.
Holt is expected to be arraigned in Clackamas County on Monday.
KGW learned that Holt went to Parkrose High School in Northeast Portland and graduated in 2006. He has no history of violent crime with only minor driving infractions on his record.
Neighbors told KGW that they had seen detectives around their apartment complex during the past few days and were surprised to hear Holt was arrested for the crime.