Arizona cops said late thursday that they have tracked down and arrested a man in connection with the murder of Lauren Heike, a 29-year-old hiker who was killed a week ago from behind in a “brutal attack”.
The suspect, who has not been named as of Friday morning, is thought to be 23, was DNA-linked to the stabbing and was arrested near the Catherine Townhomes on North Scottsdale Rd., less than a mile from the desert area near 6500 Libby Street where Heike’s body was found last Saturday, the day after he died.
Telemundo Arizona got some of the clearest shots of the suspect’s arrest.
In an effort to locate the individual, the Phoenix Police Department released short but grainy home security camera video that showed a man, then labeled a “person of interest”, running near a residence.
“Phoenix Homicide Investigators have been working tirelessly on the murder case of 29-year-old Lauren Heike, who was found dead in a desert area near 6500 East Libby Street on Saturday, April 29, 2023. While methodically examining evidence, investigators were able to locate a short surveillance video clip of a person of interest,” cops said. “This person is described as having a dark complexion and was near the crime area. Detectives believe this person may have information related to the case.
Authorities said Lauren Heike’s remains were found the day after her death, in an area where she would not have been “readily visible to those using the trail”.
Heike, an exercise enthusiast, was hiking the Reach 11 trail just north of Phoenix around 10 a.m. Friday morning when she was “attacked from behind and died of her injuries,” said Lt. James Hester of Phoenix PD Homicide this week. .
“We believe that someone would have noticed this person either before the attack or after he fled from our scene,” Lt. Hester added. “The behavior, in my opinion, was so abhorrent that I imagine the subject would display symptoms that appear out of place.”
Heike’s family said their beloved was killed on her day off doing what she loved to do in the great outdoors.
“She got up, talked to her friends. It was her day off, she had her coffee and she went for a walk, and she was happy, happy – that helps us a lot,” said her mother Lana Heike. “We need people’s help to tell us what happened after that.”
“She had such a good heart, everyone who met her loved her,” Lana said of her daughter.
Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.
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