Zion William Teasley stabbed Lauren Heike 15 times in broad daylight on walking trail

The suspect in the stabbing death of an Arizona hiker has been charged with what police described as a random “vicious attack.” Zion William Teasley, 22, faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Lauren Heike, 29, who was stabbed 15 times at the Reach 11 trial on April 28, police said.

“She had such a kind heart,” said her mother, Lana Heike. “Everyone who knew her loved her.” Heike was found dead in a desert area behind a resident’s home on April 29, according to the probable cause affidavit in Teasley’s arrest. To the west and south of her location were drops of blood and personal items that officers believed belonged to her.

Based on the location of Lauren’s property and the condition of her clothing, investigators believe it is possible she was pursued through it or over the barbed wire fence,” police wrote. “Multiple apparent puncture wounds were noted on Lauren’s back and chest. No implements were found at the scene that were capable of causing injury to Lauren.” The medical examiner found 15 stab wounds and also “numerous superficial abrasions.” She suffered apparent defensive injuries to her hands and forearms.


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Zion William Teasley stabbed Lauren Heike 15 times

On April 28, Heike had planned to go hiking with a friend of hers, but that friend was later unable to reach her by phone. He used an app to track her phone and discovered that she was in the area of 65th and Libby streets, where the crime scene was found, police said.

“Both Lauren and [the suspect] were observed walking toward a trailhead located at 68th Street and Princess Drive,” police wrote. “Security cameras barely covered the trail itself. No one was observed following Lauren prior to entering this trail.” Minutes later, on surveillance footage, Heike was last seen heading west on the trail, walking in the direction of where she was found dead. The suspect headed in the same direction, disappearing from sight.


The suspect ran after Lauren and then ran away from her before returning to the location where Lauren’s body was found and climbing over the barbed wire,” police said. The DNA on Heike’s shoe matched that of Teasley, who resembled the suspect in the pictures, police said.

His last known employer said Teasley was recently fired for being aggressive towards his co-workers and he was suspected of stealing merchandise. Shown a surveillance image of the suspect, management identified him as Teasley and said he was wearing clothing he had stolen from the store.

“Management stated that he habitually carried a pocket knife and described it as a black plastic folding knife with a blade of approximately three inches,” police said. “This blade size is consistent with wounds discovered on Lauren’s body during her autopsy.”


After finding him, police took Teasley to headquarters and showed him a still image from surveillance video of the suspect in the area of the murder, according to the documents. Teasley identified himself as the person in the photograph, officers said. He continued to speak after his Miranda warning, they said. “During his interview, Zion discussed his life as a Christian and his internal struggle with his own sexuality,” police said. “Zion was concerned for the salvation of his soul because of his thoughts.”

Teasley lived 1.5 miles from the murder site, officers said.

“When asked why the police had arrested him, Zion said: ‘There is no way I am here for a sex crime. I haven’t been with anyone for a long time,’” the documents said. Showing an aerial photo of the area surrounding the killing, Teasley said he recognized it and passed it on previously, according to the documents.


“Zion stated that he would routinely walk the area around his residence, but he refused to provide his route,” the documents said. “Zion would just say that he would never take the same route.” Shown a photo of the suspect, Teasley said, “That’s me,” then said he wasn’t sure if it was him, according to police. “Zion was shown a photograph of Lauren,” police wrote. “Zion recognized Lauren from the news and said that he wanted to look like her.”

He claimed to know that she was attacked, but “struggled to admit that she was murdered,” police wrote. He couldn’t remember if he ever met her, police said. “I’m definitely not the person who plans to kill another person,” he allegedly said when asked if he planned to kill Heike. “If I were to do something like that, it wouldn’t be premeditated.”Read More……

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