Police: Whitney Heichel murder suspect reported mental breakdown - KPTV - FOX 12

Police: Whitney Heichel murder suspect reported 'mental breakdown' in 2011

Posted: Updated: Oct 24, 2012 06:13 AM
GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

Gresham police investigated a report about a stolen car involving the man accused of murdering Whitney Heichel in August 2011.

The Gresham police report said Jonathan Holt took off in a friend's rental car, didn't tell anyone including his wife and later admitted he had a "mental breakdown" and needed to "rethink his life."

The Gresham police report said Nathan Bargas called police after going to a Best Buy store with his friend Holt on Aug. 18, 2011.

Holt is accused of aggravated murder against Heichel, 21, of Gresham. A probable cause document said Holt admitted to asking the woman for a ride on Oct. 16, pulling a gun on her and eventually killing her.

His friend, who identified Holt as "John" in the 2011 police report, said Holt stayed in the car while he went into the store on that day in August. When Bargas returned, he said the car and Holt were gone.

The car was rented by Bargas, according to the police report, because his car was getting repaired.

Bargas told officers he thought it might have been a joke, but Holt never returned. Bargas said it was out of character for Holt, who had just completed EMT training and was a trusted friend.

The Oregon Public Health Division confirmed Tuesday that Holt is a licensed EMT. His current license is good through June 30, 2013.

A spokesman wouldn't divulge any past or present EMT employment for Holt, citing the ongoing investigation.

After Holt disappeared with the car, Bargas told investigators Holt talked about how he and his wife had walked the perimeter of a Troutdale home they planned to rent and looked in the windows.

Bargas called Holt's wife, who said she had no idea what was going on and knew nothing about renting a house in Troutdale.

Holt's wife requested officers list him as a missing person at that time.

At 12:30 a.m. Aug. 19, 2011, police reported Holt returned the car to Bargas. Officers said he was safe, not suicidal, and explained why he took the car.

Holt first knocked on Bargas' back door and was apologetic, saying he "had a mental breakdown."

The police report said Holt told his friend he needed to get away and rethink his life and straighten his priorities. He said Holt went to a Washington park where he grew up and stayed there for several hours.

Bargas told police there was no damage to the car and he refused to press charges.

An officer then contacted Holt and said he was "sober, alert and clearheaded." He was not arrested.

Holt made his first court appearance Monday on aggravated murder charges against Heichel.

Her family announced an open house Friday at the Salquist Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Gresham. Click here for more details.

Fox 12 obtained photos of Holt's wedding at that location in March 2010.

We are not showing Holt's wife in the photos. Whitney Heichel's family has called her an innocent victim in all of this as well.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Whitney Heichel's body was found on Larch Mountain three days after she disappeared between her Gresham apartment and the nearby Starbucks where she worked. More>>

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