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Murder of 11-year-old still unsolved

Cold case detectives need public help to solve killing of Joshua Jeffries
by: Portland Police Bureau Joshua Jeffries was shot in his bed.

Joshua Jeffries would have turned 21 this year. Instead, the 11-year-old was shot and killed in his bed about 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, 2001.

No one has ever been charged with the crime.

"It's not fair, Joshua didn't deserve this. Joshua was a good boy" says Gayle Hoefert, Jeffries' "adopted" aunt and caregiver.

The shooting happened in the house they shared in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood at 6548 S.E. 48th Ave.

Hoefert says nothing unusual happened the night before the murder. She and Jeffries said their "I love you's" and "good nights," then he went to bed, Hoefert says.

According to Hoefert, early morning the next day, Jeffries walked into her room and said, "Auntie Gayle, someone came into my room."

FOX 12 REPORTS

Fox 12 reporter Nicolle Doll has spent weeks talking to Portland Police Cold Case Homicide Unit detectives about their unsolved cases and going through the files. Her stories are being broadcast as an ongoing series on Thursday editions of the 10 O'clock News in hopes the public can help solve them. There are more than 100 unsolved homicides in the files.

Seconds later he collapsed.

Cold case detectives say Jeffries was shot once and died a short time later. Det. Jon Rhodes, who worked on the case, says police could find no clear motive for the killing. No one had any disagreements with the boy, Rhodes says, and he had no gang or drug ties.

Rhodes says police need someone who knows what happened to come forward.

"What it would mean for me personally, I would be relieved I wouldn't have to worry about all the impact it's had on all those family members and loved ones who know Joshua ... his school mates, his teachers who every once in a while are going to be thinking about Joshua Jeffries and why he died," says Rhodes.

Hoefert still lives in the house where Jeffries died. She listens to his favorite wind chimes and swears she feels him with her, an eternal 11-year-old with an infectious smile.

"Let's, let's get this over with. I want this person taken care of. This is ridiculous, this isn't fair. He has no right, or she, or they or whoever to enjoy days like this and birthdays and girlfriends and God knows what else," Hoefert says.

Anyone with information on this or any other unsolved felony crime is urged to call the Cold Case Homicide Unit at 1-503-823-HELP (4357).


Next week Doll will report on the unsolved murder of Brian Todd Mitchell, who was gunned down in front of his NE Portland home on Oct. 2, 1995.

Fox 12 is the Portland Tribune's news partner.