‘Murders like this don’t happen often anywhere,’ 10 years later David Grubbs murder case still unsolved

ASHLAND, Ore. – Friday, November 19, 2021, marks 10 years since the night of one of Southern Oregon’s most notorious criminal cases. It’s also still unsolved.

Ten years ago, Ashland man David Grubbs was violently murdered along the Ashland Bike Path. Thursday NBC5 News showed how Grubbs was beloved by his friends. Now NBC5 News looking at the now-cold criminal case, which is at a standstill. Police are hoping someone will come forward with information that will finally bring closure to David’s family and this case.

“Murders don’t happen very often in Ashland, but murders like this don’t happen often anywhere,” said Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara.

Back in 2011, Tighe O’Meara wasn’t the Ashland police chief.

“I was the patrol sergeant on duty when it happened. I was one of the first police officers to respond,” said O’Meara.

In his nearly 30 years in law enforcement, he said he’s never seen anything like the David Grubbs murder case.

“David was attacked probably from behind while he was walking. He suffered [an] extreme injury caused by a heavy-bladed object,” said O’Meara.

Twenty-three-year-old Grubbs was nearly decapitated when he was walking home alone from work along the Ashland Bike Path near Hunter Park. An act many think may have been random.

“It was one of the first real bad things that I encountered here in Ashland. It popped that bubble that Ashland had created around us,” said Beau Hamer.

Hamer was Grubbs’ co-worker at Shop ‘n Kart, he was also his friend. He told NBC5 News he’s still grappling with the unsolved case.

“There’s no closure,” said Hamer.

But Hamer isn’t the only one that hasn’t forgotten, now police Chief O’Meara said Ashland is still investigating the 10-year-old case.

“Unfortunately that one thread that a detective hopes for at the beginning of the case you can start to tug on and pull and follow, it just never presented itself,” said O’Meara.

Chief O’Meara said this case is unique. The FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, made famous by Hollywood shows like Mindhunter, Criminal Minds, or movies like Silence of the Lambs was unable to help the Ashland Police Dept. on this case.

“The people that track this stuff for the country were not able to give guidance, were not able to say this fits this other pattern that we’ve seen in California, Washington, Idaho. This just doesn’t fit anything,” said O’Meara.

Even with the help, APD’s gotten from state and federal authorities there are still so many unanswered questions. Now, without leads to pursue Chief O’Meara is hoping someone, somewhere will come forward to give David Grubbs justice.

“Somebody knows a bit of information that they haven’t shared with us. And I have to believe that carrying that burden around is a very tiring and emotional and draining thing,” said O’Meara.

The Ashland Police Department has a $22,000 reward for any information regarding the murder of David Grubbs. If you have any information on this case you’re asked to call Ashland Police.

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Katie Streit
NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]