Investigators said the man accused of murdering Whitney Heichel made up a story about a robbery to create an alibi for the day the 21-year-old woman was killed.
Court documents released Friday said two members of the search party trying to find Heichel spotted Jonathan Holt wandering around near Southeast 257th and Stark on Oct. 16. as they drove home.
They recognized him as a friend from church, according to investigators, and offered him a ride. He acted like he was going to get in, before stopping and saying, "I just need to finish clearing my head," according to the report.
The searchers then called Holt's wife, who they said was crying. She said her husband was missing. Holt's wife later told investigators the searchers replied to her, "No he's not, he's right here on 257th and Stark, walking around."
The searchers then approached Holt again and asked him what was wrong. Holt told the searchers he had been robbed at gunpoint that morning by two black men as he walked to the MAX station.
Holt told investigators his motorcycle wouldn't start, so he decided to walk to the MAX station and that's when the robbery happened.
He also told them he was in a very bad financial situation, his wife was the only source of income and they were barely getting by.
Holt said the robbers took the only valuable items they still had, including his wallet, keys, iPhone, iPad and laptop. He then thought he would lose his job because of being late, according to the court documents, which is why he spent the whole day walking around.
Detectives said as the conversation continued, Holt changed or added details about the robbery.
Holt's wife told detectives "he was probably lying to me" about the robbery.
EVIDENCE IN THE CASE
According to court documents, investigators believe Holt tried to clean Heichel's SUV up after he killed her. They found a Febreze bottle inside the SUV that only had a quarter of the liquid left. However, spots of blood were found throughout and a pool of blood and hair were found under the mats.
A fingerprint pulled from the Febreze bottled matched that of Holt, according to detectives.
Her Ford Explorer was discovered in a Walmart parking lot with the passenger window broken out. A Walmart employee reported to detectives finding a soiled linen with red colored spots on them in a garbage bin at the store.
FOLLOWING THE SUSPECT
On Oct. 19, Multnomah County deputies and members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force trailed Holt. According to a probable cause document, they followed him to his workplace in north Portland at 6 a.m. and later watched him drop something in some bushes.
Deputies searched those bushes and said they found a gun partially covered with mud.
Investigators said Holt then went to a field near Northeast 29th and Hale Avenue in Gresham, followed by an apartment complex in that area.
Investigators watching him said in both cases he dropped something, first in the grass and then a Dumpster.
A search of the field turned up three magazines with multiple rounds of ammo and an empty holster, according to court documents. The trash container had two empty boxes of ammunition.
After that, Holt went to the Gresham Police Department office for an interview scheduled at 3:30 p.m. Officers said before he went inside he kneeled down pretending to tie his shoes and tossed something into tall grass on an island in the department's parking lot.
Deputies said they found a gun in the grass.
During that interview with police, officers said Holt admitted to killing Heichel and disposing of her body on Larch Mountain.
Investigators then obtained a search warrant for Holt's apartment and he told them he had child pornography on his computers.
Several of the items Holt had claimed were stolen in the robbery, according to court documents, were seized by investigators.
NOT GUILTY PLEA
Holt was arrested Oct. 19 and he pleaded not guilty in court Friday. He was arraigned on six counts of aggravated murder, one count of kidnapping, one count of sodomy and two counts of robbery.
Holt remains behind bars without bail. His trial is set for Dec. 14.
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