Police look for possible witness; sister talks about Jessie Cavett's death

GRESHAM, Ore. - Two young girls with no mother.

A potential new witness.

A grieving sister desperately hoping victims of domestic violence take notice.

The scope of the fallout from Saturday's shooting death of 27-year-old Jessie Cavett - whose daughter and husband were the subject of an Amber Alert until Joshua Cavett was arrested in Gresham on Saturday night - was only just coming into focus as Sunday wore on.

Gresham police on Sunday night asked for the public's help finding 28-year-old Keshia Moritz, who they say might have been a witness. They said she is about 5-foot-6, 140 pounds with several tattoos on her upper chest, a pierced nose and a pierced lower lip.

Police have yet to confirm that Jessie died from the shooting, but her sister Jennie Cochran did.

"When Josh shot her he used the hollow point and it was close range in front of their two daughters," Cochran told KATU on Sunday. "The bullet shattered in her skull and turned her brain into mush.

"By the time she got to the hospital, she was on life support and pretty much brain dead."

Jessie Cavett had two daughters - a 2-year-old and 5-year-old.

The 2-year-old is Joshua Cavett's daughter, while the 5-year-old is Jessie Cavett's daughter from a previous relationship.

Police said Jessie Cavett was shot around 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning at the Holly Ridge apartments in the 2700 block of West Powell Boulevard in Gresham. They soon issued an Amber Alert for Joshua Cavett and his daughter.

Police said they found Joshua Cavett in Gresham on Saturday night after two people recognized him from the Amber Alert.

He was scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon.

Jessie Cavett was an instructor at Bella School of Cosmetology in Portland. She married Joshua Cavett in January.

Cochran described a history of domestic violence perpetrated on Jessie by Joshua Cavett. Jessie Cavett filed for divorce from her husband in August, weeks after she filed a restraining order against him.

"There were a lot of times when she was covering up bruises and marks from him," Cochran said. "He head-butted her so hard that not only did it leave a welt and bruise on her forehead, but the whole back of her head was sore because he had hit her so hard that she fell back against the wall.

"There's a long history of abuse, and she was trying so hard to get out of that situation and then she finally did and he couldn't handle that."

Joshua Cavett does not have legal custody of his daughter. A hearing was scheduled for Monday to determine her custody status.

His 5-year-old stepdaughter is with her biological father.

Cochran said she wanted victims of domestic abuse to learn from what happened to her sister.

"To anybody else who might be in this situation, at the first sign get yourself out of the position, because it's not going to change," she said. "He kept saying that he was changing and that he wanted to make things better, and it's all talk. And people who do that, they put on amazing acts. They could fool the world if they wanted to.

"I don't want to see this happen to anybody else. And so if anybody could take something away from my sister's situation it's to not stay in that kind of relationship."

If you have any information about Moritz, call (503) 618-2719.