Whitney Heichel: 21-Year-Old Barista Disappears On Five Minute Drive To Work
Whitney Heichel left home at 6:45 am on Tuesday for her work at Starbucks five minutes away. She hasn’t been seen since.
Oregon police are now investigating the disappearance of the 21-year-old, NBC News reported. Her husband Clint Heichel told police he got a call from Starbucks asking if Whitney was sick, and he called 911 at 10 am to tell police that she had gone missing.
Heichel’s husband said everything seemed normal as she kissed him goodbye and left for work.
“She got ready, did her normal thing and I kind of woke up and said, ‘Bye. I’ll see you when you get home,’ ” Clint Heichel told ABC News’ Portland affiliate, KATU-TV, on Wednesday.
Police have set up an intense search for Whitney Heichel, assigning a team of 24 detectives to follow leads and canvass areas on Wednesday where they think she may have been just before her disappearance.
Police found that Heichel made several transactions on her debit card just before going missing, including once at a gas station at 9:14 am and later at ATMs and other gas stations at 9:22 am and 9:30 am. An attendant at one of the gas stations said she remembered seeing the SUV with Heichel in the passenger seat and a man driving. The man reportedly purchased a small amount of gas.
Police later found Whitney Heichel’s vehicle, a black 1999 Ford Explorer, in a Walmart parking lot in Wood Village, Oregon about three miles north of where she lived in Gresham.
A search of a nearby wooded area turned up broken glass and tire marks, ABC News reported.
Gresham police have are labeling Whitney Heichel’s disappearance “suspicious” and expressed fear that they’re now facing against time to find her.
“Right now we have 24 detectives working on it,” Gresham Police Department spokesman Lt. Claudio Grandjean said. “We want to be able to jump on leads we have right away. The colder those leads get, the more difficult it becomes.”
Police said forensic experts are searching for clues around Whitney Heichel’s car and hope to be able to find a break in the case.