Holt to change plea in Heichel murder case

Twenty-five-year-old Jonathan Holt is accused of aggravated murder in the death of 21-year-old Whitney Heichel, who went missing on Oct. 16, 2013, from Gresham, Ore. Her body was found three days later on Larch Mountain. (Clackamas County Jail)
Twenty-five-year-old Jonathan Holt is accused of aggravated murder in the death of 21-year-old Whitney Heichel, who went missing on Oct. 16, 2013, from Gresham, Ore. Her body was found three days later on Larch Mountain. (Clackamas County Jail)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The man accused of murdering 21-year-old Whitney Heichel last year and then dumping her body is set to change his plea.

Court records show that 25-year-old Jonathan Holt is scheduled to change his plea in Clackamas County Court on July 2.

On the morning of Oct. 16, Heichel left her Gresham apartment complex to go to her job at a nearby Starbucks. She never arrived. On Oct. 19, her body was found by searchers on Larch Mountain, located east of Corbett in rural Multnomah County. Holt was arrested on multiple aggravated murder charges that same day.

Holt and his wife resided in the same complex as Heichel and her husband. They also occasionally attended the same church.

According to a probable cause affidavit, on the day of his arrest, Holt confessed to an Oregon State Police sergeant that he was responsible for Heichel’s murder.

Holt allegedly told detectives that on the morning of her disappearance, he waited outside her apartment, located in the 700 block of Southeast Mount Hood Highway, and when she emerged about at 6:45 a.m., he asked her for a ride. While driving in her 1999 Ford Explorer, Hold pulled a handgun on Heichel and told her to drive to Roslyn Lake, located northeast of Sandy in Clackamas County.

When they arrived at the lake, Holt said he sexually assaulted her. He then shot and killed her, the affidavit reads. Holt claims he threw his cell phone into the lake before transporting her body to Larch Mountain.

An autopsy later determined she died of multiple gunshot wounds.

On the afternoon of Oct. 16, family and friends distributing flyers discovered her black SUV sitting in a Wood Village Walmart store parking lot. On Oct. 18, some children playing in a field near a Troutdale apartment complex stumbled onto her cell phone.

Detectives later confirmed that her ATM card was used at a Troutdale gas station at 9:14 a.m. on the day she went missing.

Holt grew up in Northeast Portland and graduated from Parkrose High School in 2006.

He was scheduled to appear in Multnomah County Court Thursday on a separate burglary charge.

Brent Weisberg contributed to this report.

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