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Police to discuss murder investigation

The Ashland Police Department is giving community members a chance to discuss with officers the investigation into the homicide of David Michael Grubbs at a 6:30 p.m. forum Tuesday, Nov. 29, in the Ashland High School gymnasium.

Police hope to dispel rumors circulating around the crime, and explain what they can about the investigation, said police Chief Terry Holderness.

"This gives us a chance to go one-on-one with the community," said Holderness.

"To put out firsthand information that lets people know not only what happened, but what we have done up to this point."

Holderness, along with Deputy Chief Corey Falls and Detective Sgt. Jim Alderman, also will address the murder's effect on the safety of Ashland residents and visitors, and take questions from the community at the end of the forum.

"We plan on staying as long as people have questions," Holderness said. "We're getting a lot of rumors coming out about what happened."

Grubbs, 23, was found murdered on the Central Ashland Bike Path near the Hunter Park tennis courts at about 5:35 p.m. Saturday. An autopsy showed that he was killed by "multiple sharp force injuries to the head and neck," nearly decapitated from a weapon with a medium to large blade, police said.

Holderness said Grubbs did not appear to have been robbed, and no suspects have been publicly named.

Anne Kellogg, a Medford therapist specializing in coping with trauma, will speak at the meeting and be available to answer questions, Holderness said.

"It's not something people are used to coping with here," he said.

Kellogg will explain to community members about how to best handle themselves when a situation like this occurs.

"It's not unusual when you have a traumatic situation in a community that people are upset," he said. "She (Kellogg) has a lot of experience dealing with things like this."

Because the investigation is ongoing, Holderness said, police will not be able to reveal everything about the crime.

"Some investigative details are private, because sometimes you get people who will come in to confess just for the notoriety," said Holderness. "That's why we always withhold something."

Withholding telling details also helps police ensure witnesses are legitimate, he said, and not just repeating what they heard somewhere else.

He said empathy for a victim's family is another reason police wait to release some of the details.

"The last thing we ever want is a family member to hear on the radio, TV, or newspaper about something we haven't told them first," he said.

A memorial service for Grubbs will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main St., Ashland. There will be a reception immediately following the service.

Donations to Grubbs' memorial fund can be made in $2, $5, and $10 increments through the registers at Shop 'n' Kart in Ashland, where Grubbs worked off and on since he was 18, and by donation jars placed on the counters there.

Donations in the form of a check can be made out to "David Grubbs Memorial Service," and deposits also can be made into Rogue Valley Federal Credit Union account number 1515937.

Holderness said the holiday won't slow down police work on the investigation into Grubbs' death.

"We're working straight through "… until we find out who did this and prosecute them," he said.

The investigation into the incident is continuing and police are requesting public help. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Ashland police at 541-482-5211 or leave an anonymous tip at 541-552-2333.

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