Local Unsolved Mysteries: the David Grubbs murder

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, July 23 2014 at 5:42 PM, Updated: Wed, July 23 2014 at 7:17 PM

Ashland, Ore. -- A brutal murder case has gone cold almost three years after the investigation began. As part of NBC5's special series, Local Unsolved Mysteries, we reexamined 23-year-old David Grubbs' murder on the bike path in Ashland near Hunter Park back in November 2011. Police said the young man was nearly decapitated.

While the chances of catching Grubbs' killer gets slimmer every day, there's still hope that somewhere, someone has information that could be the key to solving this case.

A mother's pain

Three years after Grubbs' death and every morning, Cherie Grubbs feels the pain that only a mother can feel outliving her child.

"I wake up. I have about three seconds where everything's okay, and then I remember my boy is gone," said Cherie Grubbs, David's mother.

While Cherie said Grubbs' best friend is living with her and he reminds her of David, her life is still tinged with sorrow.

"I don't see joy in my life anymore. Because when good things happen, I know how quickly they can be taken away," she said.

Cherie Grubbs said she sometimes walks on the bike path and gets comfort from the memorial that still stands, along with the bench and light post that were put up in memory of David Grubbs.

"I want people to remember," she said.

"David was the most loving, kind, sweet, gentle man I've ever had the privilege to know," continued Cherie Grubbs.

"It's something that's locked into your mind like a photograph"

Ashland Police Deputy Chief Corey Falls, said he remembers that cold November night like it was yesterday.

"I couldn't tell you what happened last November 19th or the year before that I couldn't tell you what happened. But 2.5 years ago I can tell you my whole day on November 19th," said Falls.

Even almost three years later, Falls said the Ashland Police Department continues to receive  sporadic tips.

"Even within the last couple of months we've gotten people that will call in and just say I don't know if this means anything to you, but here's some information," Falls said.

In addition to following up on tips, Falls said APD is linked to the FBI's database.

"If a similar type of homicide happens anywhere in the country, we're going to get a phonecall on it," explained Falls.

While police are always looking for new details, no matter how small, concrete leads in Grubbs' murder have gone cold. The lack of leads in the case has Falls and other investigators angry and frustrated.

"We get in this job to catch bad guys," explained Falls.

NBC5 News speaks with forensic anthropologist involved in investigation

Whoever did it is still on the loose, something Forensic Anthropologist Doctor Steven Symes hopes will change. He's worked on hundreds of high profile national cases and he traveled to the Rogue Valley in 2011 from across the country to look into the murder weapon.

"I rarely admit that a case impacts me that much, but I'd be senseless and unfeeling to say that they don't... This case I'd like to see solved," said Symes.

While Symes said he has already completed his report for investigators in the Rogue Valley, there could be more scientific tests conducted in the future and he's willing to do more work with the case.

"Maybe bring in some more experts to do more tests I haven't thought of before," he said.

"I can probably guarantee there will be another meeting and we'll probably discuss anything, any loose ends that we can try to tie up at all," Symes continued.

Suspicions that Grubbs' murder was random

The forensic anthropologist said he can't go into the details of the case, but revealed he believes Grubbs' murder seems like an act out of the blue.

According to Symes, he's seen more random acts of violence recently than when he started his career about 30 years ago.

"There is a lot of random violence and that does seem to be a trend," said Symes.

"It used to be rare to see a random, violent act. It's not so rare these days in my opinion," he continued.

Grubbs' mother also shares the belief that her son's death was a random killing.

"I walk down the streets in Ashland and want to grab people by the shoulders and say there's a murderer out here," said Cherie Grubbs.

Falls: "What's important to me is that this isn't forgotten"

While the person responsible may have skipped town long ago, there's always a chance they could still be in the Rogue Valley. That's why police say it's important people don't forget what happened on the bike path.

"Someone could come forward with that one piece of information that just breaks this open," said Falls.

For now, Cherie Grubbs is learning to live with the loss of her beloved David.

"It's a struggle every day," she said.

In addition, she said it's been hard not hearing periodically from Ashland Police.

"They never call. They don't call and say you're still on our minds... and we're still working on it," she said.

In the meantime, she waits for closure and a break in the case to bring her her son's killer to justice. Cherie Grubbs said a friend's words bring her some comfort.

"Every day that you live is one day closer to your dying, so you can be with your child," said Cherie.

Some good coming from a tragic situation

However, there is some good that has come from of his tragic death. According to family, as a result of David Grubbs' birthday party thrown in November of 2013, they were able to give out $500 college scholarships to six Ashland students involved in music programs.

Grubbs primarily played bass guitar and loved music.

This year, family members and friends hope to throw another birthday party for Grubbs in November. The goal is to raise even more money.

Meanwhile, Ashland Police say if anyone is sitting on information potentially related to David Grubbs' murder, even if they believe it's minor, police still want to know about it.

"It's frustrating to be at this point now and not have someone in custody but there's also that drive within us... that we're going to continue to go after and find out who did this," said Falls.

Want to report any information?

Call Ashland Police at 541-552-2333 or visit their website.
        

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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