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Report: Police watch as Holt ditches evidence

In the days subsequent to Whitney Heichel’s disappearance, police secretly followed Jonathan Holt and watched him dispose of evidence — including two handguns — that would ultimately help lead to his arrest, according to a 44-page document detailing the case against the accused killer.by: CLACKAMAS COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - Jonathan Holt

Holt, 25, was indicted Friday in Clackamas County Circuit Court on allegations of kidnapping, robbing, sexual assault and murdering the 21-year-old Gresham Woman shortly after she left for work early Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Circuit Judge Katherine Weber set the trial date for Dec. 14, but it’s likely the trial is still a year away.

According to the search warrant and seizure order, on the morning Heichel vanished, so to did Holt. The documents says he never showed up for his job at Canteen Services, a vending machine company in Portland, and his wife, Amanda Holt, and father couldn’t reach him by phone.

That evening a couple, members of the same Jehovah’s Witness congregation as Holt, spotted him walking along Northeast 257th Avenue, near Stark Street, as they were driving home after helping search for Heichel.

The couple offered him a ride, but Holt refused, saying, “I just need to finish clearing my head.”

After driving away, they called Holt’s wife who was crying as she told the couple that her husband was missing.

After driving back to track him down and again press him to get in the car, Holt said he was robbed at gunpoint — describing his assailants as two black males — that morning on his way to work.

Holt never reported the incident to police, but during an interview with detectives, Amanda Holt said she “had a hard time believing him” and he was “probably lying” because he’s disappeared like this before, according to the search warrant affidavits.

Both Holt and his wife told detectives there had been recent issues in their marriage. Amanda said her husband “can’t handle things well,” and that he “keeps everything to himself. So many things build up and he just loses it.”

Holt, who was interviewed by police on Oct. 17, said he spent the day wandering the streets and crying. But over the course of multiple interviews, details about the robbery changed.

It helped police identify Holt as a suspect early in the investigation.

On Friday, Oct. 19, Multnomah County Sheriff deputies and members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force followed Holt.

It started that morning when he left his apartment — where Heichel and her husband also lived — and drove his wife’s 2010 Scion to work.

Police said they watched as Holt rummaged through his car in his work parking lot that afternoon, then walked over to the building where he appeared to drop something in the shrubbery. Police later recovered a black Smith and Wesson 9 mm semi-automatic handgun.

After Holt returned to the car, police followed as he drove to a field near Northeast Hale Avenue and Northeast 29th Street. Holt got out of the car and deputies, following on foot, watched as Holt appeared to drop something in the grass.

Holt made his way to a nearby apartment complex. Standing at a Dumpster, he looked around then dropped something in before returning to his car.

Police recovered three magazines, multiple rounds of 9 mm ammunition and an empty holster from the grass, and crumpled cardboard ammunition boxes from the Dumpster.

Police continued to follow Holt as he traveled to the Gresham Police Department.

There, he got out of his car and knelt down next to tall grass planted in a island in the parking lot. Pretending to tie his shoes, Holt quickly moved his hand to the grass then back to his shoe. That’s where police later found a second handgun.

Holt eventually entered the station for a prearranged interview and ultimately confessed to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing Whitney Heichel then dumping her body on Larch Mountain.

He also admitted to possessing child pornography on his laptop.

That evening, police said, Holt took police to the area where he shot Heichel four times, a small turn-out off Southeast Thomas Road in Sandy near Roslyn Lake. He was later booked into Multnomah County Detention Center.

The next morning, detectives returned to the scene and found an iPhone, which Holt said he discarded at the scene after stealing it from the Heichels’ apartment using a key they gave him so he could take care of their fish while on vacation.

During an interview with police, Clint Heichel said he thought Holt had returned the key.

Holt also told detectives he asked Heichel for a ride on the morning of Oct. 16 and pulled out a handgun five minutes into the drive.

Her vehicle was discovered hours later, abandoned at the Wood Village Wal-Mart with the front passenger window shattered and front license plate missing. Police also recovered bloody items from a nearby Dumpster

Gresham Police Department Detective Ryan Gleason wrote in a search warrant affidavit that an Oregon State Police forensic scientist found a “large quantity of blood in the front passenger seat area and the back seat area,” other evidence that was consistent with a shooting, as well as four 9 mm shell casings in Heichel’s 1999 black Ford Explorer.

The forensic scientist suggested someone tried to clean up the vehicle. In addition, Holt’s fingerprint was lifted from a bottle of Febreze found in the car.

The Holts and Heichels were acquaintances. They attended the same place of worship and the Holts moved into the Heichel’s Heatherwood Apartment complex two months prior to the murder, according to an interview with Holt.

Holt is currently lodged in Clackamas County Jail.