Lauren Heike: Arizona esthetician murdered on desert hiking trail after being attacked from behind
Arizona police have released video of a person of interest after an Arizona esthetician was attacked from behind and murdered on a desert hiking trail.
The body of Lauren Heike, 29, was discovered in the north Phoenix desert on Saturday morning, the day after she went out to exercise.
Investigators say the alarm was raised the following morning and she was pronounced dead at the scene with her body showing signs of “trauma.”
“It’s horrific. As hard as this is for us, we’re grateful because we had such a beautiful child,” Heike’s mother Lana told a news conference. “We’re grateful because she had such beautiful friends.”
Her father Jeff, added: “She was my little girl, and I’m going to miss her terribly. I just hope they can find whoever did this to her.”
Authorities have now released an image of a person of interest in the murder investigation.
In a short surveillance video, the person police want to talk to can be seen walking through the area where Heike was found dead.
Police say the man is believed to be between 5ft8 and 6ft tall, and he was wearing dark clothing and a backpack.
Phoenix Homicide Lt James Hester told reporters that Heike was attacked from behind as she hiked and died due to the injuries she suffered.
He said that the victim’s body was found in a location that is not easily visible from the community trail, which is an area where people often ride horses or off-road vehicles.
The detective said that he believes the person in the video clip would have stood out to anyone using it at the same time.
“The behaviour, in my opinion, was so heinous that I would imagine that the subject would be displaying behaviour symptoms that just would look out of place,” Lt Hester said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Phoenix Police Department at 602-262-6151 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish.