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Family, friends hold public memorial for Whitney Heichel

The family of a 21-year-old Gresham girl who was murdered last week held a public open house to celebrate her life.

Hundreds of people attended the memorial for Whitney Heichel, which took place the Salquist Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Gresham.

"She's absolutely beautiful, not just physically, but in her personality, her heart, and the way she thought, and just everything," said Whitney's husband, Clint Heichel, outside the open house Friday.

Since her death, her family has tried to focus on the positive outpouring of community support, this amid many unanswered questions. Investigators still do know why Heichel’s neighbor, 25-year-old Jonathan Holt allegedly kidnapped and killed her.

"I don't know, I try not to even think about it, I was pretty enraged in the beginning," Clint said.

Heichel went missing on the morning of Oct. 16. Her body was found on Larch Mountain, east of Corbett, on Oct. 19, the same day that Holt was arrested in her murder.

"I can't quite wrap my head around it," Clint said. "I'm kind of relating it as, if something bad happens to somebody, and they go into shock. I think that's exactly what it is, I think our minds only let us deal with a little bit of pain at a time."

Meanwhile, Holt appeared by video Friday afternoon for his second hearing at Clackamas County Circuit Court, where prosecutors announced that a grand jury had indicted him on six counts of aggravated murder with a firearm, one count each of kidnapping, sodomy, and two counts of first-degree robbery.

A tentative trial date is set for Dec. 14. If convicted, Holt could face the death penalty.

None of Holt's family members attended Friday's hearing. He continues to be held without bail in the Clackamas County Jail.

-- Contributed by KOIN Local 6 staff