An Arizona woman, who was killed on a popular hiking trail by an ex-marine, fought him off and managed to run away before collapsing from the severe stab wounds, police said on Friday. Lauren Heike, a 29-year-old skin care technician, was stabbed at least 15 times in the back and chest by alleged killer Zion Teasley, 28, on April 28 but she didn't give up.
Instead, Heike fought back Teasley and run away from the scene with her wound. After running till some distance, Heike collapsed from the severe wound sustained during the attack before dying, Phoenix homicide Lt. James Hester said at a press conference.
Fought Bravely for Her Life
Heike was found dead on the Reach 11 trail on April 28, with police launching a week-long manhunt for her killer. "I believe she fought him off and she was able to get away but her injuries were too severe for her to continue," Hester said.
He suggested that the fact that it took more than 24 hours for her body to be found in the forested area may have been because Heike tried to escape Teasley and run some distance from the original scene of the crime.
"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 at a press conference on Friday.
The attack is believed to be random as Heike didn't know 22-year-old felon and ex-Marine Teasley, who was charged on Thursday with Heike's murder, according to Hester.
Teasley is accused of stabbing Heike 15 times in the back and chest in a planned attack on the East Libby Street trail in Phoenix.
"He was quickly located in an apartment not far from the scene," Hester said.
Although authorities say it is unlikely Heike was sexually assaulted before the murder, they are still looking into the possibility. According to court documents, Teasley was seen on surveillance footage on April 28 following Heike for a while.
He was also seen on camera going back to the spot where Heike's body was found and scaling the fence once more.
Investigation Not Yet Over
According to a probable cause document, Teasley, the alleged murderer, was recently fired from his employment at a neighboring sports store for being "aggressive" to female employees and stealing.
Teasley's DNA was found on a shoe that Heike threw away while trying to climb the barbed wire barrier as she tried to escape.
Police were able to track down Teasley with the help of a sample from a previous criminal record in their system. Teasley was released from prison in November after being sentenced to three years in jail after entering a guilty plea to robbery with a deadly weapon, disorderly conduct, and robbery in June 2020.
He is accused of violating his probation and one count of first-degree murder, both of which carry the death penalty if he is proven guilty.
The convicted felon left the Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego after barely four months after starting the program in March 2019.
He left the training in June 2019, a Marine Corps spokeswoman said, and his arrest records proved that he was not on active duty.
Additionally, based on phone data, Teasley was in the same area as Heike when she died and was traveling in the same direction as the video.
His boss also attested to the fact that he was carrying a pocket knife, which authorities believe to be the murder weapon.
When arrested by officers the suspected murderer said: "There's no freaking way I'm here for a sex crime. I haven't been with anyone for a long time."
The probable cause affidavit also stated that during the interview, Teasley discussed his internal struggle with his sexuality and his growing up as a Christian.
It added: "Zion was concerned about the salvation of his soul due to his thoughts."
During his first court appearance, he was given a $ 1 million cash bond for the violation but was remanded into custody with no bond in relation to the murder charge.