What lies beneath: Grubbs murder investigators return to Talent pond

Grubbs murder investigators return to Talent pond
A diver continues searching a pond off West Rapp Road in Talent Thursday for evidence linked to the nearly year-old investigation into the brutal murder of 23-year-old Ashland resident David Grubbs.Bob Pennell

Divers on Thursday finished combing the bottom of a murky irrigation pond on the outskirts of Talent for evidence linked to the murder of David Grubbs, but Ashland police Chief Terry Holderness declined to say whether any evidence had been recovered.

The search of the pond and surrounding 18 acres at 225 W. Rapp Road began Wednesday and was one of three search warrants served in the year-old case. The other two were for a car and an apartment at 72 Wightman St., Ashland.

"We're not in a position to talk about what we did or did not find," Holderness said.

Grubbs was 23 when he was killed with a bladed weapon Nov. 19, 2011, on the popular Central Ashland Bike Path while walking home at dusk from his job as a clerk at Shop'n Kart.

Holderness had said Wednesday that investigators "have somebody in mind," but no suspect had been named in the case as of Thursday night.

About 50 police and search and rescue volunteers picked through a home, old barns and sheds, junk piles and the irrigation pond Wednesday at the Rapp Road property, owned by Leonard and Sally Parrish. Leonard Parrish declined to comment on the search Thursday.

Another half-dozen Ashland police and Southern Oregon University campus public safety officers searched the apartment at 72 Wightman St., which is occupied by Sally Parrish's daughter, Rebecca Doran, 44, according to phone records and a neighbor.

The apartment, part of an SOU family housing complex, is along the bike path just a few blocks from where Grubbs was murdered near Hunter Park.

Doran owns a 2006 Jeep Wagon registered to her mother and stepfather's 225 W. Rapp Road address, according to Driver and Motor Vehicle records. Phone and court records list her as a resident at the Rapp Road address as recently as 2011.

Police seized a vehicle from the Ashland apartment, said Kip Keeton, APD community service officer, but he declined to say who the vehicle belonged to or what type it was.


Holderness told The Associated Press that police were acting on a tip they received about a month ago, and in that time developed enough information to ask a judge for three search warrants.

"We're not arresting anybody that lives at any of those residences," Holderness stressed Thursday. "My concern is that neighbors are going to be worried about whether the people that live in those houses were involved in something they weren't."

He said police have served about six similar warrants during the course of the Grubbs investigation.

"We have found stuff that has been useful in past warrants," said Corey Falls, Ashland police deputy chief. "Any time where we can continue to do work on this we do so. "… It has been a constant since last year."

Police have received a handful of tips related to the investigation since Wednesday, Holderness said, but so far nothing has been actionable.

A community reward fund for information leading to an arrest in the case has grown to $21,230.

Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email swheeler@dailytidings.com.



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