Arizona hiker Lauren Heike stabbed 15 times, likely with pocketknife: Court docs


Authorities have released details surrounding the vicious murder of a 29-year-old lone hiker in Phoenix, Arizona who was found dead on a community trail last weekend. 

According to the Phoenix Police Department, Lauren Heike was found with 15 stab wounds and injuries on her hands and forearms after being brutally attacked by 22-year-old Zion William Teasley on Saturday, April 29.

DNA, video and cell phone evidence all linked Teasley to the crime, prosecutors allege.

Investigators say they believe the 29-year-old woman had been chased over a barbed wire fence along the community trail based on the condition of her clothes. Her belongings were found scattered along the trail.

Heikes mother and father remembered her as a beautiful and sweet person. (Phoenix Police Department)

Security cameras in the area recorded Heike and the suspect walking separately along the same path around the time of the murder.

“The suspect ran after Lauren and then sprinted away before returning to the location where Lauren’s body was found and climbing over the barbed wire,” Teasley’s probable cause statement read.

ARIZONA SUSPECT FACING MURDER CHARGE IN HIKER’S DEATH IDENTIFIED: SOURCE

Police say the man was known to carry a pocketknife with a three-inch blade, which is consistent with the wounds found on Heike’s body.

Cell phone data recording his location reportedly matched the surveillance video evidence.

Zion Teasley

Booking photo of Zion Teasley taken Friday, May 5, 2023 provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Teasley is facing first-degree murder charge following the death of Lauren Heike on Arizona hiking trail (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

At this time, police do not have a motive attached to the seemingly random murder.

“I do believe at this time that the attack was random, however we have not concluded our investigation,” Lt. James Hester said at a news conference Friday, May 5.

“I do believe at this time that the attack was random, however we have not concluded our investigation.”

— Lt. James Hester, Phoenix Police Department

Teasley, a source told Fox News, is being charged with first-degree murder. He also has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2020 for charges including assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, robbery, armed robbery and burglary. 

A judge set the suspect’s bond at $1 million. However, since Teasley is on probation for a past conviction, he could remain behind bars.

PHOENIX POLICE ARREST SUSPECT IN CONNECTION TO LAUREN HEIKE’S DEATH

Prosecutors say the 22-year-old had a plane ticket to Detroit. He told investigators it was because his aunt died, but that has yet to be confirmed.

He is the same man who was seen in blurry surveillance footage running from the trail around the time Lauren Heike was attacked, officials confirmed.

person of interest

Detectives said a person of interest in this surveillance image is wanted for questioning in the death of Lauren Heike. (Phoenix Police Department)

Heike was found dead around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 29 along a popular community trail near where she lived, the Phoenix Police Department said. 

Phoenix Homicide Lt. James Hester told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday, May 3 that Heike was found in a location that was not easily visible from the trail. Hester said she was attacked from behind and died due to her injuries.

PHOENIX WOMAN, 29, FOUND DEAD ON HIKING TRAIL

Police said the body was identified as Heike. She was pronounced dead at the scene and was found to have “trauma to her body,” according to investigators. 

Lauren Heike

Lauren Heike, 29, was found dead along a community hiking trail in Phoenix over the weekend. (Phoenix Police Department)

Heike’s family shared an emotional message after Phoenix police arrested Teasley on Thursday, May 4.

“We are breathing a sigh of relief this morning knowing another family will not have to walk in our shoes because of this person,” Tana Heike wrote in a Facebook post Friday morning. “Although this doesn’t bring our Lowie back and the journey ahead is sad and daunting we are eternally grateful for the love and support we’ve received from the moment she went missing.”

“We are breathing a sigh of relief this morning knowing another family will not have to walk in our shoes because of this person.”

— Tana Heike

Heike’s mom went on to say that the family was overwhelmed with the number of support and prayers that they’ve received.

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“I think that’s a testament to what a beautiful person Lauren was,” Lana wrote.



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