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DNA evidence helps police arrest suspect accused of stabbing Lauren Heike to death on Arizona hiking trail

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A suspect accused of murdering 29-year-old Lauren Heike on an Arizona hiking trail was arrested on Thursday night.

The body of Heike was discovered on a desert trail in the north Phoenix area on April 29. Investigators said Heike was attacked from behind and killed the day before her body was found. Police only revealed that Heike suffered "trauma to her body" from a "vicious attack."

Earlier this week, the Phoenix Police Department released a grainy video of a person of interest wearing dark clothes.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Heike's family made emotional pleas to the public for assistance in bringing Lauren's killer to justice.

Around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, police arrested 22-year-old Zion William Teasley in connection with the murder of Lauren Heike. Teasley was arrested at his apartment, which is less than a mile from the hiking trail where Heike's body was discovered.

Neighbor Amber Winter said she saw "about three SWAT trucks" enter the apartment complex before Teasley's arrest.

"They literally blew the door down, went in, screaming 'Get on the ground! Get on the ground!' They detained the supposed suspect, and brought him out," Winter told KSAZ-TV. "He sat there for a while, while they went inside and were searching and were interviewing people."

Sources told Arizona’s Family that police linked the murder to the suspect through DNA and that Heike had been stabbed "multiple times."

Police did not reveal if the suspect and victim had any connection or if it was a random attack.

Phoenix police Sgt. Melissa Soliz confirmed that Teasley is the same person as seen in the ominous video that was released by police this week.

Soliz said of Teasley, "Right now, he is the person that we believe to be responsible or in connection to the murder of Lauren Heike."

"Our detectives are going to ensure that every piece of evidence is looked at carefully, every angle and give their full effort on this case," Soliz added. "We’re hoping that the community can rest a little easier knowing this person is off the streets."

Teasley was booked into the Maricopa County jail on a first-degree murder charge.

KSAZ-TV reported that Teasley has a prior criminal record.

According to the outlet, "'The 22-year-old served time in prison from July 2021 to November 2022 for a disorderly conduct conviction, and was accused of robbery, kidnapping, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon back in 2020, court records show."

Lauren Heike's mother, Lana, described her daughter as "beautiful inside and out."

"She had such a kind heart, everybody who met her loved her," Lana Heike said during a news conference on Wednesday.

"Everybody who met her loved her," Lana Heike said of her slain daughter. "She was super funny. She was just a sweet child."

The mother, who lives in Washington, said she spoke to her daughter every day, and every call or text conversation ended with: "I love you, mom."

Lana said, "We just want the world to know what a sweet person she was, and what she meant to us and to our family. And what a void it is for us."

LIVE COVERAGE: Police arrest suspect in Lauren Heike's murderwww.youtube.com

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