The Unsolved Murder of David Grubbs

David Michael Grubbs was a 23-year-old man who was murdered on November 19, 2011. His nearly decapitated body was found in Hunter Park, Ashland, Oregon. His murder remains unsolved.

David Grubbs

David Grubbs has been described as a six-foot-tall, gentle giant. He came from a very loving family and had no known enemies. David had worked at the same place since high school, the Shop’n Kart. In his free time, he played online role-playing video games, Assassin’s Creed being one of his favorites.

The Crime

On November 19, 2011, David had worked his normal shift as a clerk at the Shop’n Kart, a locally owned grocery store. He left work at the end of his shift and began his 30-minute walk home. His normal walking route took him along the Central Ashland Bike Path through Hunter Park, a 10-acre park between Walker Street and Normal Street in Ashland.

A person near the bike path first encountered David lying on the path at approximately 5:35 p.m. Initially, they thought he was unconscious. After further examination, they discovered David had several injuries to his head and neck area. Injuries were so deep across his neck that he was almost decapitated. Police were immediately contacted.

The Investigation

The medical examiner determined David’s death was caused by sharp-force trauma. Investigators determined the weapon used was a very large “fine-honed” blade. They surmised that it would have been the size of a machete or sword. Police did not find evidence at the scene to lead to a possible suspect or motive. David’s personal effects were with his body, including his wallet and the money in his pants pocket. He had no defensive wounds.

After no obvious or apparent leads were discovered, investigators began looking at David’s life and hobbies. A new line of investigative thought began with a possible connection to his online gaming activity. Terry Holderness, Ashland Police Chief at the time, and homicide investigators began reaching out to some of David’s virtual gaming friends in the hopes of discovering any additional information. Their efforts garnered no evidence of David having any online gaming enemies. Investigators conducted more than 300 interviews, with none generating any leads. David’s case went cold.

At one point, investigators looked into convicted bank robber turned murder, Christian Delaurentiis, due to his connections to the southern Oregon area and this method of murder. However, police did not find any evidence that connected Delaurentiis to David’s death.

A few years after David’s death, the police department hired retired sheriff’s detective, Charlie Retzer. Retzer’s only duty was to follow up on all information or leads for David’s case. No new evidence has been discovered through his exhaustive efforts.

The Aftermath

According to news sources, David’s best friend Garrison Mau stated in a Facebook post, “This couldn’t have happened to a more innocent and genuinely wonderful human being. My world is shattered.”

Eric Chaddock, the Shop’n Kart manager, stated that David had begun working there while still in high school, “This was the nicest kid I’ve ever met in my whole life.”, he said.

The murder of David Grubbs remains unsolved and is an open investigation. The City of Ashland created a reward fund for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person (s) responsible for David’s death. On November 29, 2011, the Ashland Police Department held a community meeting to update the public on the investigation into David’s death. At the meeting, public suggestions were recorded, such as adding lights to the bike path and installing a memorial park bench in David’s honor.

Investigators are asking for the public’s assistance. If you have any information regarding the death of David Grubbs, you are asked to contact the Ashland Police department at (541) 482-5211 or the Anonymous Tip Line at (541) 552-2333.

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