The Arizona woman who was allegedly murdered on a popular hiking trail by an ex-Marine fought him off and managed to run away before collapsing from severe stab wounds, police said Friday.
Lauren Heike, a 29-year-old skin care technician, fearlessly battled for her life when she was “randomly attacked” on April 28 by alleged killer Z
ion Teasley, Phoenix homicide Lt. James Hester said at a press conference.
“I believe she fought him off and she was able to get away but her injuries were too severe for her to continue,” he said.
Her escape effort may have played a role in why it took more than 24 hours for her body to be found in the wooded area, he said.
Hester said Heike likely didn’t know Teasley, 22, a felon and ex-Marine who was charged Thursday with her murder.
Teasley is accused of stabbing Heike 15 times in the chest and back in a premeditated attack on the East Libby Street trail in Phoenix.
“He was quickly located in an apartment not far from the scene,” Hester said.
Police are still probing whether Heike was sexually assaulted but Hester said she likely was not. Cops currently have no motive, he said.
Earlier this week, police released grainy footage of a person of interest wearing a backpack and fleeing an area near the trail, sparking a manhunt.
Someone recognized Teasley in the footage and he allegedly admitted to cops, “That’s me,” according to police documents.
During a court appearance Friday, prosecutors said Teasley was linked to the crime through DNA found on Heike’s shoe along with phone evidence.
In 2020, Teasley was convicted of armed robbery with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct then released in November, according to prosecutors.
“Whether the courts treated him fairly or unfairly is not for me to say,” Hester said when asked about the conditions of his release Friday.