NOTUS — Five years after the murder of 25-year-old Christopher Reese, police have still not been able to identify any suspects in the case, although they remain hopeful.
The convenience store clerk would be turning 31 on Dec. 31, but his life ended during a gas station robbery on Dec. 17, 2014.
His mother, Polly Griggs, said last year she lights a candle in his honor every year on his birthday.
On Monday, Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue called the killing “senseless” and “methodical,” and said in an interview with the Idaho Press he believed the crime had been planned.
“It was an execution,” Donahue said. “That’s what it was.”
While deputies continue to receive information, Donahue said that information hasn’t been enough to identify people of interest in the case.
Still, he said he believes the people who killed Reese must have told someone about the crime, which means someone else knows who they are and what happened.
“These two men — at a minimum there’s two men involved in this — in my opinion, they’ve told somebody,” Donahue said. “That’s human nature to talk about it. They’ve told somebody. Somebody knows something.”
Just after 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2014, two armed robbers shot and killed Reese during his shift at a Jacksons Food Store in Notus. The robbers took a safe of money from the store, and fled the scene in Reese’s car, a 2007 Lincoln MKZ. They later left the vehicle on the side of a road.
Video clips of the shooting show a suspect in tan pants and a camouflage jacket walking into the store with a rifle. In another video, the person leaves the store holding a bag, with the weapon still in his hand.
A second person in video footage is wearing a mask, a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, with a handgun in a waist holster. The suspect enters with a hand truck and leaves carrying the safe.
Donahue confirmed on Monday the investigation into Reese’s death remains active and open.
“I think about this case all the time, and I think about that family all the time,” he said.
Donahue said his deputies continue to work on the case and keep in touch with Reese’s family. Reese’s daughter is 9 years old this year, and his sister is a 911 operator.
Donahue considers them victims in the case, too — pointing to the fact that Reese’s child will have to grow up without a father.
“There’s things we continue to work on from a forensic standpoint that we’re not ready to talk about yet,” Donahue said. “Those are confidential things.”
The drought of information isn’t due to lack of trying, however. Jacksons Food Stores is offering a $100,000 reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest in the case; that’s an increase from the original $50,000 the company had in place.
Crime Stoppers launched a billboard campaign in 2017 promoting the reward for information in the case, with space donated by Lamar Advertising. Officials went so far as to create a video in July 2015 reenacting the murder and post it on YouTube, in hopes of drawing information out of people.
Thus far, those efforts have not yielded the names of suspects.
In that respect, Reese’s murder is different from other serious, unsolved crimes in Canyon County, such as the 2017 murders of two women and a 14-year-old girl whose bodies were found near the suspect’s home on Kcid Road in Caldwell. Although police have not made an arrest in that case, they do have a suspect — Gerald “Mike” Bullinger — although he has not been heard from since July 2017 when his vehicle was found abandoned in Wyoming.
“(Reese’s murder) is the only one where we physically don’t … have the suspect,” Donahue said.
He confirmed deputies aren’t going to stop investigating the case.
“And again, we don’t ever let go of it. We’re not closing it,” Donahue said. “When you’re in law enforcement and you have cases like this, they haunt you, and this is one of those.”
Anyone with information about the case can call the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office at 208-454-7510 or Crime Stoppers at 208-343-2677. Tips to Crime Stoppers can be made anonymously.