GRESHAM, Ore. — The discovery of a 21-year-old woman's body on a remote, forested mountain gave a terrible answer to the family, friends and church members who worked so hard to find out what happened to her.
But it remained unclear Saturday what information led police to a neighbor and acquaintance who quickly emerged as a suspect in her death last week.
Jonathan Holt, 24, of Gresham, a resident of the apartment complex where Whitney Heichel lived with her husband, was arrested for investigation of aggravated murder Friday night, about the same time her body was found on Larch Mountain, east of Gresham.
He was scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Clackamas County.
Police said autopsy results would not be released Saturday and sought to derail speculation that Holt's relationship with Heichel was anything more than as an acquaintance.
"There is no evidence that has surfaced in the investigation leading investigators to believe there was anything more," according to a city news release.
Heichel reportedly left her apartment Tuesday morning for her job as a Starbucks barista. She never showed up, and three hours later, her husband, Clint, called police. He told investigators he tried to reach Whitney multiple times after her boss alerted him that she never arrived for her 7 a.m. shift.
Police said Heichel's ATM card was used at a nearby Troutdale gas station at 9:14 a.m. Tuesday. Two hours later, family and friends discovered her sport utility vehicle in a Wal-Mart parking lot with the passenger side window smashed.
Some of her items were found in a trash bin nearby, and a child later found her cellphone in a field that lies between the gas station and the Wal-Mart.
Police began searching Larch Mountain on Wednesday, believing that Heichel's SUV was driven there, and discovered her body Friday night. The family's search team had discovered a license plate and other "items of interest" on Larch Mountain, police Chief Craig Junginger said.
Holt first came to their attention Wednesday, when he volunteered to be interviewed, Junginger said, and two interviews revealed inconsistencies in his statements. He submitted to fingerprint and DNA analysis, and that helped tie him to the SUV, the chief said.
It was not immediately clear if Holt had obtained a lawyer. He remained held without bail at the Multnomah County Detention Center.
Police did not respond to requests for comment Saturday and said in an email that no further information would be released.
Jim Vaughn, a family spokesman, thanked police for their commitment in the case.
"Whitney was a very loving person," he said Friday. "She was warm, she was kind, she was everything you would want in a friend, relative, spiritual fellow worshipper."
He asked for privacy for the family, saying: "Our loss and heartache is too much to bear right now."
"To say that this case brought fear and anxiety to the community is a vast understatement," Mayor Shane Bemis said. "As we watched these events unfold, Whitney in many ways represented all of our wives, daughters, sisters, friends and loved ones."
This department of motor vehicles image provided by the City of Gresham, Ore., shows Whitney Heichel. Police said Friday Oct. 19, 2012, that children playing outside an apartment complex have found the cellphone of Heichel, an Oregon woman who vanished three days ago under suspicious circumstances. Authorities said the phone will be examined Friday for clues about what happened to Heichel after she failed to show up for work Tuesday morning.(AP Photo/DMV via City of Gresham)
This image provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's office shows the booking photo for Jonathan Daniel Holt taken early Saturday Oct. 20, 2012. Holt, 24, of Gresham, Oregon, a resident of the apartment complex where Whitney Heichel lived with her husband, was arrested for investigation of aggravated murder Friday night, about the same time her body was found on Larch Mountain, east of Gresham. He was scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Clackamas County. (AP Photo/Multnomah County Sheriff)
Clint Heichel, husband of Whitney Heichel, 21, of Gresham, Ore., breaks down as he attempts to speak at a press conference Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 in the council chambers for the City of Gresham. Police say children playing outside an apartment complex have found the cellphone of Whitney Heichel, who vanished three days ago under suspicious circumstances. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Brent Wojahn)
Clint Heichel, husband of Whitney Heichel, 21, Gresham, who is the subject of a suspicious disappearance case in Gresham listens at a press conference in the council chambers for the City of Gresham Thursday Oct. 18, 2012.(AP Photo/Brent Wojahn, The Oregonian)
Lorilei Ritmiller, mother of Whitney Heichel, 21, Gresham, who is the subject of a suspicious disappearance case in Gresham speaks at a press conference in the council chambers for the City of Gresham Thursday Oct. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Brent Wojahn, The Oregonian) LINK
Clint Heichel and Lorilei Ritmiller
GRESHAM, OREGON - October 18, 2012 - Clint Heichel gets a hug from Lorilei Ritmiller, mother of Whitney Heichel, as he breaks down after he attempted to speak at a news conference Thursday Oct. 18, 2012 in the council chambers for the City of Gresham. (AP Photo/Brent Wojahn, The Oregonian)