Police: Murder of Portland boy still a mystery decade later - KPTV - FOX 12

Police: Murder of Portland boy still a mystery decade later

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It was Aug. 10, 2001, and an innocent child was asleep in his bed.  And like a thief in the night, a killer stole a young life.

"Early morning hours, someone shoots Joshua Jeffries," said Portland police investigator Jon Rhodes.

Portland police cold case detectives said someone crept into Jeffries' bedroom and fatally shot the 11-year-old boy.

KPTV special section: Cold Case Unit

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

Jeffries would have turned 21 years old this year, but that milestone moment was taken from him.

Instead, his loved ones are left with a forever-frozen photo of a grinning boy who was inexplicably taken that early summer morning.

Hoefert remembered the night before the murder as typical. They had said their "I love yous" and "Good nights." Then, the fifth-grader went to bed in the home they shared in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood of southeast Portland.

In the early morning hours, Hoefert said Jeffries walked into her room and said, "Auntie Gayle, someone came into my room."

Seconds later, she said, he collapsed. Jeffries was taken to the hospital, where he died a short time later.

"When you get a case like this, you start in this tight circle," said Jon Rhodes, one of the original homicide detectives on the case.

Investigators could find no one who had disagreements with the boy.  They also said Joshua had no gang or drugs ties.  There was, and remains, no clear motive.

FOX 12 got a close look at evidence from the 10-year-old cold case, now stored in the police bureau's property warehouse.  FOX 12 reviewed case notes with investigators.

Solving this case, Rhodes said, hinges on someone coming forward and providing information.

"What it would mean for me, personally, I would be relieved I wouldn't have to worry about all the impact it has had on all those family members and loved ones who know Joshua," Rhodes said. "His schoolmates, his teachers who every once in a while are gonna (sic)  be thinking about Joshua Jeffries and why he died."

Hoefert said the last 10 years have been a nightmare and she's still waiting for justice.

"I think Josh would rest easier. I think I would rest easier," Hoefert said.  "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."

If you have any information about who killed Joshua Jeffries, please call Crimestoppers at 503-823-HELP (4357). You can also submit anonymous tips online at www.crimestoppersoforegon.com/submit.php. 

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