In April, the unthinkable happened to a family of a valley woman when her life was taken. According to the Heike family, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will be pursuing the death penalty for the individual accused of taking their daughter’s life on a hiking trail in Phoenix back in April.
On Friday, the Heike family received notification that MCAO had filed a notice of their desire to seek the death penalty for Zion Teasley, 22.
According to police filings, Teasley ambushed and stabbed 29-year-old Lauren Heike while she was out for a hike. The body of the victim was found near Libby Street and Mayo Boulevard, south of Loop 101. Detectives were able to connect Teasley to the crime through DNA discovered on Heike’s shoe and other forensic evidence, such as cellphone location data. Law enforcement reported that Teasley had been released from prison only five months prior. Police officers believe he had been stalking her before the attack.
In May, a grand jury indicted Teasley on a murder charge after he pleaded not guilty. This prompted the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to pursue the death penalty. Teasley has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing of Heike.
The Heikes expressed their sentiment regarding the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office’s plan to pursue the death penalty in the case of Lauren’s homicide, with the following statement:
This afternoon, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for the murder of Lauren. The Heike family supports this decision and are thankful for the work done by the MCAO and Phoenix PD. They are aware that the criminal justice process has just started and they intend to be with it every step of the way to ensure that justice is served for Lauren. This Christmas season, their hearts are broken by the sudden end of her life due to another person’s violence. Nevertheless, they want her to be remembered for her beauty and kindness. They have hope in knowing they will be reunited with her someday. They ask for your prayers and for privacy at this time.
Heike Family Statement