Man arrested after woman killed on Arizona trail: Police


(PHOENIX) — A man has been taken into custody after a woman was killed while hiking on a Phoenix trail last week, police said.

“Phoenix police have taken a man into custody in connection with the murder of 29-year-old Lauren Heike,” the Phoenix Police Department tweeted Thursday night.

He was identified Friday as 22-year-old Zion William Teasley. He has been booked into Maricopa County Jail for first-degree murder. He is being held without bond.

Teasley was arrested at his residence around 6:30 p.m. local time Thursday, Sgt. Maria Soliz said during a press conference.

He is the same person who was seen in a video clip running away from the scene, Soliz said.

There was an outpouring of support and tips after Heike’s family spoke, police said. Soliz would not say whether one of these tips led to the man’s arrest.

Heike’s parents had pleaded with the public for information in the case, as police hunted for a suspect in the “vicious attack.”

Heike was found dead in a desert area with “trauma to her body” around 10:30 a.m. local time Saturday — about 24 hours after the attack is believed to have occurred, Phoenix police said.

She lived in the area and was on a popular trail that she routinely hiked, police and her family said.

“She loved to exercise. She was walking and we know she was happy. She went out that morning on a beautiful day, she did what she does every day,” her mother, Lana Heike, told reporters during a press briefing Wednesday while surrounded by her daughter’s friends and family.

Phoenix police Lt. James Hester said Lauren Heike was attacked from behind and died as a result of her injuries.

“The vicious attack on Ms. Lauren Heike is unconscionable,” he said during the briefing.

Hester declined to share many details in the case to not compromise the investigation. But he said police have surveillance footage from Friday of a person believed to be a suspect in the homicide.

The suspect was described by police as being upward of 6 feet tall and having a thin build with a dark complexion. The individual was wearing a dark backpack, gray or lighter-colored shirt, dark pants and shoes and was seen running near the area of the crime, police said.

Hester asked people who noticed anything “that didn’t look right” on the trail the day of the incident, as well as the days leading up to and after it, to come forward.

“The behavior, in my opinion, was so heinous that I would imagine that the subject would be displaying behavior symptoms that just would look out of place,” he said.

In a sign posted on the trail, police are also now warning people not to walk alone and to report suspicious activity.

Lauren Heike’s mother described her daughter as “beautiful inside and out” and someone who had a “kind heart.”

“Everybody who met her loved her,” Lana Heike said. “She was super funny. She was just a sweet child.”

Lana Heike said she spoke to her daughter every day, and every call or text ended with, “I love you, mom.”

“We just want the world to know what a sweet person she was, and what she meant to us and to our family. And what a void it is for us,” Lana Heike said.

“I’m begging people to come forward,” she said.

Lauren Heike’s family came in from Washington state to attend Wednesday’s press briefing.

“I just hope they can find whoever did this to her,” her father, Jeff Heike, said.

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