Editor’s note: The following letter was submitted by Gresham Police Chief Craig Junginger.

The recent murder of Whitney Heichel is a horrific crime. It is a tragedy for not only the Heichel family, but also for our entire community.

Being a parent myself, I can’t even imagine what the Heichel family must be going through as they mourn the loss of a wife, daughter, sister, niece and granddaughter.

Over the last week, members of my department and I have come to know the Heichel family and Whitney’s large extended family. They are good people with huge hearts. I believe they are comforted by the outpouring of thoughts, prayers and wishes by those in our community who are grieving with them.

Early last week, Whitney’s disappearance became the focus of every member of our police department. They worked tirelessly around the clock to follow up on every tip, lead and shred of information we could uncover.

Although they work tremendously hard on every major investigation we handle, this one had a humanizing effect on all of those involved.

As the family grieves, so do many members of the investigative team who came to know Whitney through the case. They became attached emotionally to the case and worked it as though Whitney was a member of their family.

They always held out hope that it would be a rescue of Whitney and not a recovery.

Unfortunately, our hopes of a rescue were shattered when her body was located on Larch Mountain.

If there is any comfort to the family, the investigators and the community, the police department has brought the monster who perpetrated the crime to justice.

Over the last week, I have witnessed the work done by one of the finest collaborations of law enforcement personnel from many different agencies. They are the most talented, compassionate and dedicated cops I have had the honor to work with.

The citizens of Gresham should be proud of their police department, and know that they are protected by a group of professionals who would willingly sacrifice their lives at any given moment for any person in harm’s way.

Craig Junginger

Chief of Police

Gresham Police Department

Contract Publishing

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