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Nearly three years after Notus homicide, family, law enforcement still want answers

Reese was shot and killed Dec. 17, 2014, by two armed robbers at the Jacksons Food Store in Notus where he worked.{ } (Courtesy Polly Griggs)

Every morning, Polly Griggs wakes up to the sound of her son’s voice in the form of a voicemail from three years ago.

In the voicemail, set as her morning alarm, her son, Christopher Reese, is talking to his then-3-year-old daughter.

Reese instructs his daughter to tell his sister Ashley, “She’s stinky, but tell her you love her,” and his daughter repeats it into the phone.

Reese was shot and killed Dec. 17, 2014, by two armed robbers at the Jacksons Food Store in Notus where he worked. The robbers took off in Reese’s car with a safe of money, later leaving the vehicle abandoned alongside a road.

Reese was 25 years old.

Nearly three years after his death, Reese’s killers are still at large.

Griggs is hopeful that one day the people who killed her son will be found.

Griggs, who lives in Tennessee, said she continues to regularly contact the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office to see if there is any update on who killed her son.

DEC. 17, 2014

While working as a convenience store clerk at the Jacksons in Notus, Reese was shot to death about 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2014. Video clips released to the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office showed one person wearing a camouflage jacket and tan pants who walked into the store with a rifle. Another video shows him leaving with a bag with weapon still in hand.

The second wanted person is masked and wears a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans with a handgun in a waist holster. In the video, the person enters the store with a hand truck and leaves with the store’s safe.

According to police, the safe was found off Purple Sage Road near where the two robbers abandoned Reese’s 2007 Lincoln MKZ, stolen from the store’s parking lot. The safe was not opened, according to Jacksons company officials.

Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue said the investigation is still active even after three years, but leads have not pointed them to the killers.

Donahue said investigators want to keep Reese’s story alive and in the news because he believes “it is the best avenue to get someone to come forward.”

Jacksons Food Stores is still offering its reward of $50,000 for information that will lead police to Christopher Reese’s killers.

For Griggs, “the worst part is not knowing what’s going on.”

While awaiting answers, Christopher Reese’s sister Ashley has since found a new calling in life. She changed her course from wanting to be a nurse and went into criminal justice.

“She wanted to do something to help others who have gone through this to help them find justice,” she said.

Griggs said Ashley has made the honor roll every time and thinks she has found her true calling.

While Griggs said she believes her daughter has moved on in a positive way, she cannot say the same for herself.

“There are a lot of bad days,” she said.

“It’s just right now I am stuck,” she said. “And that is because I have no justice.”

REACH INTO HUMAN SOUL AND COME FORWARD

Both Griggs and Donahue agree that someone with knowledge of the murder is out there, and Donahue said he “implores them to reach down into their human soul and come forward.”

Until then, Donahue said the sheriff’s office is not giving up hope that they will find the killers and he said the public shouldn’t give up, either.

Griggs said as times change, maybe someone might be able to speak up now so that her family can get closure and move on.

She believes someone “has to know something” because the way he was killed, in her mind, was with a purpose.

“How unfair is it that they get to live their lives free and my son is gone?” she said.

'IT'S GOING TO BE BETTER TOMORROW'

Griggs will never give up hope of finding her son’s killers.

“You always hold on to that little bit of hope,” she said. “It kind of keeps you going because if you get it, you’ll get closure.”

Griggs said the family was close, especially after Reese’s father died in November 2000. Griggs said they got through that death because they all had each other and were stronger together.

Griggs described her son as a “happy-go-lucky” man who would help anyone who needed it.

“If I was having a bad day he would hug me and say, ‘It’s going to be better tomorrow,’” Griggs said.

Every Christmas since Reese’s death, Griggs said she lights a candle for him and leaves the candle burning — during the daylight — until his birthday on New Year’s Eve.

Then on his birthday, she and Skyler would let balloons go in Griggs’ front yard to honor him. Now, Griggs celebrates his birthday alone because Skyler and Reese’s former fiancée live in Oregon.

“Most people celebrate the New Year,” she said. “I celebrate him.”

Griggs said she fears Skyler, now 6, will not remember who her father is.

Until the killers are identified, Griggs keeps her son’s ashes in the living room. She talks with him nearly every day.

“I promised Christopher that until his killers are caught, I’m not letting him go,” she said.

“They stole something more precious than money or anything material,” she said. “They stole my baby, and when they stole his life, they took part of mine.”

Until Reese’s murderers are found, Griggs said, “I can’t move on. I need some closure.”

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