Cost of Grubbs case nears $100,000

The Ashland Police Department has spent about $75,000 investigating the brutal murder of 23-year-old David Michael Grubbs that occurred on the Central Ashland Bike Path nearly four months ago, but so far has named no suspect.

Most of the cost came from 1,140 overtime hours for detectives, officers and clerks from the day of the murder, Nov. 19, through the end of January, said Ashland police Chief Terry Holderness. (Correction: The number of hours of overtime and the employees who worked them have been updated in this story.)

"We're also incurring costs as the investigation continues," said Holderness. "We can't predict how much that will climb."

The Oregon State Police, Jackson County Sheriff's Department and Medford Police Department have contributed about $24,000 worth of overtime hours to the investigation, the agencies reported.

Each agency foots its own bill under a countywide agreement that goes into effect when the Jackson County Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit is initiated, as it was in the Grubbs case, Holderness said.

He said at no point in the investigation has the APD been short on available resources.

"Resources have never been an issue in the case," he said.

Holderness said the fees and travel costs for experts used during the investigation, fees for obtaining thousands of records, and purchases of interview equipment, including computer software and portable cameras, are included in the latest cost estimate, as are insurance and benefits and payroll taxes associated with officers' overtime hours.

About $5,000 was spent on bringing in leading forensics expert Steven Symes, of Erie, Pa., in December to help determine the weapon Grubbs' attacker used. The cost included his flight and hotel room but does not include his work in the lab, which is ongoing.

Holderness declined to comment on whether Symes has been able to identify what weapon was used, but said detectives are still in regular contact with him.

Police have identified everyone reported as being seen in the area where Grubbs was murdered around the time of the incident, about 5:35 p.m. Nov. 19, said Holderness, though none has been named as a suspect.

He urged anyone who knows of someone who was in the area that night but has not been contacted by police to call the department at 541-482-5211, or leave an anonymous message on the tip line at 541-552-2333.

Currently, there is one APD detective working nearly full time on the Grubbs investigation, Holderness said, with the help of a small task force of detectives from multiple agencies.

"But, if we get a major lead that requires a lot of manpower, it's only a phone call away," he said.

Detectives from all the agencies involved continue to be updated regularly on the status of the investigation to be sure everyone is up to speed in case of a breakthrough, Holderness said.

He said detectives are continuing to follow up on a sparse amount of incoming new leads, and any portions of the investigation that have even a slight possibility of leading police to a suspect.

That means going through about 600 tips, more than 300 interviews, and hundreds of hours of surveillance footage collected from businesses around Ashland with a fine-toothed comb, he said.

Holderness declined to comment on whether police have any promising leads, or whether detectives have any persons of interest in the case.

"If we had a suspect, it wouldn't be something we would announce until we were ready to make an arrest," he said. "The investigation is very active. "… We still believe we're going to solve this case."

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email

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