Memorial to slain Ashland man vandalized

A jogger and his dog run by the restored memorial to David Grubbs along the Central Bike Path in Ashland on Monday. Drew Fleming photo
February 28, 2022

Friends restore tribute to David Grubbs along bike path

By Holly Dillemuth,

Friends of the late David Grubbs replaced his memorial over the weekend after finding it had been vandalized for the second time since he was murdered along the Central Bike Path in 2011.

David Michael Grubbs

Grubbs, 23, was found slain at 5:35 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2011 after walking home from his job as a store clerk at Shop’n Kart, according to the Ashland Police Department. His is one of the department’s two cold cases, according to Chief Tighe O’Meara.

Garrison Mau, a close friend of Grubbs, visits the site of Grubbs’ memorial often. Grubbs was a groomsman in Mau’s wedding and godfather to his daughter. When Mau visited the site on Saturday, though, nothing about the memorial was as it should be.

A steel cross that was part of the memorial was broken and a concrete portion uprooted at the site, located between Hunter Park and the railroad tracks along the bike path.  

“Everything was kicked in every direction,” Mau said in a phone interview with

“It was pretty disturbing to drive up to it and just see it completely decimated like that.”

A friend of Mau’s who happened to be jogging by the area at the time told him he’d seen the memorial like that for several days.

Mau reported the incident to the police, and he said personnel from the department came to the scene and entered the cross into evidence.

The memorial prior to the vandalism.

Mau said the cross will be returned to him and he hopes to work with a local blacksmith to have it restored.

“I really want to try and look at the bright side of this and see what we can do moving forward, to honor him,” Mau said. “We have plans to make some proposals to the city council.”

Mau and his parents set to work cleaning up the site on Sunday afternoon. 

They cleared rocks and set down new soil and a rock circle, planting daffodils and even laying a memento to memorialize some of Grubbs’ favorite things — a bag of “David” sunflower seeds.

“You could never interact with David (when) he didn’t have a mouthful of sunflower seeds,” Mau said, remembering his best friend.

Mau is hoping the city can help secure the area and possibly add a security camera on the site. He said he plans to speak to city councilors about the proposal in the near future.

“He was such a kind and gentle man,” Mau said, adding that Grubbs was “humble” and said he wouldn’t want a fuss made about himself.

“But with the nature of this thing he deserves to be honored and our community deserves some solace around this,” Mau said. “Whatever we can do together to make that happen, I think it’ll only strengthen our community.”

Cherie Grubbs, David’s mother, said she is appreciative of Mau caring for her son’s memorial, saying “it meant the world to me.” 

O’Meara was one of the first officers on scene when Grubbs’ body was found in 2011. In November, near the 10th anniversary of the murder, O’Meara called the Grubbs’ case “an open wound for the family and for the community.”

“I am very hopeful that we’ll be able to move it forward one day,” O’Meara said.

There’s a $22,200 reward outstanding for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or person responsible for David Grubb’s murder. Information can be submitted at 541-482-5211, or anonymously at 541-552-2333.

Email reporter at

The refurbished memorial. Drew Fleming photo
The refurbished memorial. Drew Fleming photo

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Email him at

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