Slain Oregon Starbucks barista Whitney Heichel was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and then shot four times by a neighbor who waited outside her apartment and asked for a ride on the morning she vanished, court documents said.
The chilling details behind the 21-year-old’s murder emerged Monday as her accused killer, Jonathan Holt, made his first appearance in Clackamas County Court.
According to an affidavit posted on Portland newspaper The Oregonian’s website, Holt, 24, told police that he waited for Heichel at their Gresham apartment complex and then asked for a ride as she left for her 7 a.m. shift at Starbucks.
The two were friendly.
Holt and his wife attended the same Jehovah’s Witnesses church as the Heichel and her husband, Clint, and those two cared for the Holts’ plants and cats when they travelled, Clint Heichel told ABC News.
Just two weeks ago, Clint Heichel had helped Holt out of a jam by jump-starting his motorcycle.
About five minutes into the ride, Holt pulled a pistol and forced Heichel to drive to Roslyn Lake, about 15 minute to the southeast, where he made her perform oral sex on him.
The heartless sicko then shot her four times, killing her, the document said.
After chucking his cell phone in the lake, Holt drove Heichel’s black Ford Explorer to Larch Mountain, a remote forested area about an hour north of the murder scene, and dumped her body there, the affidavit said.
Heichel’s body was found there on Friday, the same day Holt was arrested on suspicion of aggravated murder.
Holt changed his story during interviews with investigators after Heichel went missing, and his DNA was found on the Explorer’s steering wheel, cops said.
Dressed in an anti-suicide smock, he appeared in court via video feed on Monday and broke down in tears as he was formally accused of kidnapping, sodomizing and then murdering the pretty young brunette.
If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
He did not enter a plea and was expected to appear on court again on Friday.
Heichel’s heartbroken family, meanwhile, said they can’t understand why anyone would hurt her.
“It’s very difficult. We only had a year and nine months together, and when you get married, you bet on forever,” Clint Heichel told ABC News in an interview broadcast Monday.
“She didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just … why? That’s the only question. Why?”
“She was just a beautiful little person, just full of love, and she was just a ray of light to everybody,” he said.
According to The Oregonian, Holt grew up in northeast Portland and worked at a Burger King and Subway restaurant in the area after graduating from high school in 2006.
He married Amanda Adams,in a Jehovah’s Witness ceremony in 2010.
The Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in Gresham described him as an “irregular” church-goer.
People in the area who grew up with Holt said they couldn’t believe he was a suspect in a brutal murder case.
“He seemed like such a shy and quiet guy and it’s shocking to hear what he is accused of,” Yuliya Mikhaylov, 24, who went to Parkrose High School with Holt, told the newspaper.
“Definitely something I didn’t expect.”