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MailTribune.com
  • A desire for justice

    An intensified police investigation raises hopes the David Grubbs murder in Ashland will be solved as the crime's anniversary nears
  • A Grubbs family member and Ashland residents say searches of two properties and a vehicle this week have renewed their hope that police will track down the person who brutally murdered 23-year-old David Michael Grubbs a year ago Monday on the popular Central Ashland Bike Path.
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  • A Grubbs family member and Ashland residents say searches of two properties and a vehicle this week have renewed their hope that police will track down the person who brutally murdered 23-year-old David Michael Grubbs a year ago Monday on the popular Central Ashland Bike Path.
    "I haven't been hopeful in a long time, and this latest effort makes me hopeful," said Michael Grubbs, David's father and a building official for the city of Ashland.
    Police searched an 18-acre property in Talent and an apartment and vehicle in Ashland Wednesday but declined to name a suspect or say whether any evidence was found.
    "The police made a huge step when they served those warrants," said Michael Grubbs, adding police withhold most details of the investigation from family members to prevent jeopardizing the case.
    David Grubbs was found murdered at about 5:35 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2011, by a passer-by. Police believe Grubbs had been dead less than 30 minutes.
    An autopsy showed that he was nearly decapitated from a weapon with a medium to large blade, police said.
    Investigators said Grubbs, who'd been walking home from his job as a grocery clerk at Shop'n Kart, did not appear to make any defensive moves in the attack, and that his wallet and money were left in his pocket.
    Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness said Wednesday investigators "have somebody in mind," but stressed they did not believe any of the residents at 225 West Rapp Road, Talent, or 72 Wightman St., Ashland, where the searches were conducted, were responsible for the murder.
    "I'm very hopeful they will find who did it," said Bobbie West, 29, of Ashland. "It's great they still have some leads to follow."
    Without a car, West mostly walks to get around town. She still carries a distinct sense of awareness because of the murder, she said.
    "Whenever I walk past anyone wearing something like a trench coat, I always get nervous," she said.
    Ashland resident Susan Brook said David Grubbs' murder crosses her mind whenever she steps outside to go on a walk.
    "It's not been quite the same since then," she said. "I used to feel OK walking home from the theaters after dark "… not any more."
    Brook and West said other crimes in Ashland, including sexual assaults, contribute to their heightened sense of awareness, but that Grubbs' murder stands out.
    "Ashland is a really caring and trusting community, so it's hard for us to think we have to be on guard all the time," Brook said, "but maybe we do."
    George Schweiger, 31, who pedals past where Grubbs' body was found near Hunter Park on his way to work a few times each week, said, "I think about it every single day."
    Schweiger said he feels safe biking and walking anywhere in Ashland, but hopes the crime can be solved for the Grubbs family's sake.
    "Closure would be nice," said Ashland resident John Brandenburg, 23, who jogs on the bike path regularly and feels no threat.
    "I always stop at his memorial "… just to try to show appreciation," Brandenburg said.
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