80 blades examined in Ore. decapitation case

MEDFORD, Ore. — A homemade hatchet found in creek has been added to the tally of some 80 blades inspected by police in the two-year-old investigation of the slaying and near-decapitation of an Ashland grocery clerk.

Deputy Police Chief Corey Falls told The Mail Tribune that investigators have no active leads and very few loose ends in the Nov. 19, 2011, slaying of David Michael Grubbs on a bike path in Ashland that runs past a park and a school.

“It’s slowing way down, but our lead detective still hasn’t closed the case,” he said.

The hatchet was found in December in a creek in Talent that flows out of a pond that police had searched with divers nearly a year after the slaying. Ben Treiger found it behind his house after a rainstorm when he was cleaning out debris. It looked like it was made out of a saw blade.

“I looked at it and I was like, `Oh my God, that’s what they were looking for,”’ said his wife, Rachel Treiger.

They turned it over to Talent police.

“It’s come onto our radar,” Falls said. “We have all that information and we’re not going to comment on any of that.”

Since the slaying, police have talked to nearly 2,000 people and analyzed hundreds of hours of surveillance footage collected from businesses.

Grubbs was walking home from work when he was killed, and a passer-by found the body. Grubbs’ hands did not show any wounds to indicate he tried to shield himself from the cutting blow. His wallet and money were not taken.

Michael Grubbs, the victim’s father, said police have told him they have run out of things to look at but are ready to examine anything new that comes up.

“They’re calling it random,” he said. “David was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

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