Lauren Heike murder suspect arrested less than a mile away from hiking trail where 29-year-old was killed in ‘vicious attack’ from behind

Arizona cops said late Thursday that they tracked down and arrested a man in connection with the murder of Lauren Heike, a 29-year-old hiker who was killed one week ago from behind in a “vicious attack.”

The suspect, identified as 22-year-old Zion Teasley, was reportedly linked to the stabbing by DNA, and was arrested near the Catherine Townhomes on North Scottsdale Rd., less than a mile away from desert area near 6500 Libby Street where Heike’s body was found last Saturday, the morning after her death.

In an effort to find the individual, the Phoenix Police Department released a short but grainy home security camera video that showed a man, then termed a “person of interest,” running by a residence.

“Phoenix homicide investigators have been working tirelessly on the case involving the murder 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 going through 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 area of the crime. Detectives believe this person may have information related to the case.”

Authorities said that Lauren Heike’s remains were found the day after she died, in an area where she would not have been “easily viewable by those that utilize the trail.”

Heike, an exercise enthusiast, was hiking on the Reach 11 trail just north of Phoenix at around 10 a.m. Friday morning when she was “attacked from behind and died as a result of her injuries,” Phoenix PD Homicide Lt. James Hester said this week.

“We believe 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 heinous that I would imagine that the subject would be displaying symptoms that look out of place.”

Heike’s family said that their loved one 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 got her coffee, and she went walking, 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 kind heart, everybody who met her loved her,” Lana said of her daughter.

Teasley was booked Friday morning in Maricopa County, jail records say.

Zion Teasley

Zion Teasley (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.

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