Missing Ore. woman's body found, man arrested

Whitney Heichel Personal Photo

GRESHAM, Ore. Searchers have found the body of a young Oregon woman who vanished Tuesday on her way to work and police have arrested a neighbor for investigation of aggravated murder, Gresham police said late Friday night.

The body of Whitney Heichel, 21, was found on Larch Mountain, a remote forested area east of Gresham, Police Chief Craig Junginger told a news conference.

After collecting DNA and fingerprints and conducting three interviews over several days, police arrested Jonathan Holt, 24, of Gresham, the chief said.

Holt lived in the same apartment complex as Heichel and her husband.

The Starbucks barista reportedly left her apartment for work at about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday on a drive that typically takes less than five minutes.

Her husband, Clint, called police roughly three hours later. He told investigators he tried to reach Whitney multiple times after her boss alerted him that she never arrived for her 7 a.m. shift.

Police said Heichel's ATM card was used at a nearby Troutdale gas station at 9:14 a.m. Tuesday. Two hours later, her sport utility vehicle was found in a Wal-Mart parking lot with the passenger side window smashed.

A child later found her cell phone in a field that lies between the gas station and the Wal-Mart, giving investigators another venue to search.

Jim Vaughn, a family spokesman, spoke at the Friday night news conference, thanking police for their commitment in the case.

"Really, words can't begin to express the sadness that our families are experiencing tonight," Vaughn said.

He asked for privacy for the family.

Police took no questions.

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