29-year-old Lauren Heike went on a hike on a community hiking trail near her home in Phoenix, Arizona, at about 10 am on Friday, April 28th. She was then found dead at 10:30 on Saturday, April 29th with 15 stab wounds. Security camera footage was later released of a”shadowy” figure fleeing the scene of the crime.
Announcing that her body had been found, the Phoenix Police Department released a statement saying, in part:
Homicide investigators are looking into the death of a Phoenix woman who was found
fatally injured in the desert area near 6500 East Libby Street over the weekend.
On Saturday, April 29, 2023 just after 10:30 a.m., officers responded to a call of an injured person in
the desert area near 6500 East Libby Street. A woman identified as 29-year-old Lauren Heike was
pronounced deceased on scene by the fire department. Heike was found to have trauma to her
They also released the security camera footage of the “shadowy” figure leaving the scene of the crime, as can be seen here:
NEW INFO ON HOMICIDE investigation. Police are hoping someone can help them identify the person in this short video who may have info on a homicide case from 6500 E Libby Street. Anyone with info call police or @SilentwitnessAZ
Original media advisory:https://t.co/8ITIbfihky pic.twitter.com/2vnwY840NC
— Phoenix Police (@PhoenixPolice) May 3, 2023
The shadowy figure from the security camera footage has now been arrested, with the Phoenix Police Department announcing on Thursday, May 4th that “Phoenix police have taken a man into custody in connection with the murder of 29-year-old Lauren Heike.” That would be 22-year-old Zion William Teasley, about whom ABC News reported:
A 22-year-old suspect, Zion William Teasley, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder. His bond was set at $1 million during a court appearance Friday.
Teasley had recently been terminated from his job for “being aggressive toward female employees,” according to the probable cause document. Management at that job told investigators that he often carried a pocketknife, which would have been consistent with the murder weapon, according to the document.
Describing the assault and saying that Lauren was found with defensive wounds on her forearms, indicating that she tried to fight off her attacker, Phoenix police Lt. James Hester said, “I believe Lauren fought off her attacker and was able to flee, but her injuries were just too severe.”
Heike’s mother, Lana, speaking about her daughter’s murder, said, “It’s horrific. As hard as this is for us, we’re grateful because we had such a beautiful child. We’re grateful because she had such beautiful friends. Similarly, her father, Jeff said, “She was my little girl, and I’m going to miss her terribly. I just hope they can find whoever did this to her.”
Disturbingly, Teasley has a history of being arrested for violent crimes and then being released on plea deals, as the Arizona Daily Independent reported, saying:
Zion William Teasley, the man charged with the murder of Lauren Heike, has a history of accepting plea deals with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
According to the Phoenix Police Department, Teasley was arrested at an apartment complex in the area of 17200 N. Scottsdale Road around 6:30 Thursday night, May 4. He was booked into jail for first degree murder and probation violation.
Teasley was arrested several times in 2020 for robbing convenience stores. He was charged with armed robbery and kidnapping. He was offered plea deals and served a mere 1.5 years in prison.
His probation was revoked when he was arrested for murder.
Featured images credit: Phoenix Police Department
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