The Arizona esthetician who was stabbed more than a dozen times by a former Marine managed to fight him off and escape him before she collapsed and died, FOX 10 reports.
Police on Friday said that 29-year-old Lauren Heike was randomly attacked by 22-year-old Zion Teasley on an East Libby Street hiking trail in Phoenix on April 28. Investigators say Teasley allegedly stabbed Heike 15 times in her chest and back in what appeared to be a premeditated attack.
But Phoenix Police Lt. James Hester said it appeared that Heike defended herself and had defensive wounds on her forearms and hands. Authorities believe that Teasley chased Heike over a barbed wire fence at some point.
“I believe she fought him off and she was able to get away but her injuries were too severe for her to continue,” Hester told reporters at a press conference, according to Arizona’s Family.
Heike’s body was discovered in a wooded area the following day.
Police do not believe that Heike, who worked as a skin care technician, knew Teasley, an ex-Marine who has a felony record. Authorities are still investigating whether he sexually assaulted her.
Evidence connecting Teasley to the crime reportedly includes DNA found on Heike’s shoes and information from phones.
Police also released security camera footage of a person of interest running from the trail wearing a backpack. Teasley’s probation officer and a former employer both reportedly recognized Teasley as the man in the video, and he allegedly admitted that it was him.
Teasley dropped out of the Marine Corps boot camp after four months in 2019. He was convicted of armed robbery with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct in 2020 and had been released from prison in November.
Court documents show that Teasley had been fired recently from a sports store for allegedly being “aggressive” toward female colleagues and for stealing.
On Thursday, prosecutors charged Teasley with murder in connection with Heike’s death. He is being held on $1 million bond.
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[Feature Photo: Lauren Heike/Facebook]