More blades ruled out in Grubbs case

Evidence from the Grubbs murder investigation is beginning to funnel back into the hands of the Ashland Police Department as forensic experts continue to work through the caseload.

Police haven't received anything back of use in solving the crime, said Chief Terry Holderness, but this week's return of evidence was only a small portion of what APD detectives are expecting back.

Holderness said the evidence returned by the Oregon State Police Crime Lab Tuesday includes negative test results on bladed weapons police collected during the course of the investigation and negative tests of clothing from people who police stopped on the bike path that night.

Although police still haven't named a suspect, Holderness said the negative results from the crime lab mean detectives can start crossing more people off their list and narrowing down the possibilities for naming a suspect.

Holderness said detectives are in contact with Steven Symes, a forensic anthropologist based in Erie, Pa., who is examining evidence he collected during a second autopsy of David Michael Grubbs in early December.

Holderness said he doesn't know when Symes plans to finish his analysis.

Symes, who is examining the evidence at his laboratory in Pennsylvania, said he hopes to identify the weapon used in the murder of 23-year-old Grubbs on the Central Ashland Bike Path on Nov. 19.

Holderness said detectives are reviewing data collected during the investigation, correlating different people's interviews and making sure everything adds up.

That mean countless hours of reviewing security footage and going back over hundreds of interviews.

"We're quite a way into the investigation, and we don't have a really solid suspect yet," said Holderness. "We're trying as many avenues as possible trying to find who would do this to a person that, for all known purposes, had no enemies."

Police are also still working with the city of Ashland and the Grubbs family to establish an additional reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who brutally murdered Grubbs.

Holderness said the city's finance department is trying to finalize the fund.

"We'd like it as soon as possible," said Holderness, but added he didn't know when that would be.

Holderness said police are still waiting on several more DNA swabs and additional items collected during the course of the investigation to be returned from forensic experts.

"It's only a small percentage that we got back," said Holderness. "Once it starts coming back in we'll have different reports to work with."

Until then, Holderness said detectives will continue following up on leads and reviewing interviews.

Detectives would like to talk with anyone who was on the bike path between Wightman Street and the Clay Street overpass between 4 and 6 p.m. Nov. 19. Those who used that stretch of path at that time or know someone who did are asked to contact the Ashland Police Department at 541-482-5211 or leave an anonymous message on the tip line at 541-552-2333.

Grubbs was found murdered near the Hunter Park tennis courts about 5:35 p.m. Nov. 19.

The one reward fund set up for anyone who can provide information that leads to an arrest in the case has reached $1,600, said Ruthie Cox of the Medford Police Department.

Anyone who wants to contribute to the fund can mail a check to the Medford Police Department, 411 W. Eighth St., attention Ruth Cox. Checks can be made payable to "Crime Stoppers of Southern Oregon for Grubbs reward."

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

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