Kitsap family mourns killing of daughter; suspect arrested

A 22-year-old man was arrested May 4 for killing a former Kitsap County woman in a desert near Phoenix, AZ.

He was charged with first-degree murder after investigators identified him as the individual caught on the camera footage.

A Kitsap County family is heartbroken after 29-year-old Lauren Heike was found dead April 29.

Heike was hiking a trail near her home the morning of April 28 when she was attacked from behind. Police recovered the body after receiving reports of an injured person in the north Phoenix desert. Officials said she died at the scene, and her body showing signs of trauma.

“She was my little girl,” an emotional Jeff Heike, Lauren’s father, said at a May 3 news conference at the Phoenix Police Department. “I’m gonna miss her terribly. I just hope they can find whoever did this to her.”

A close friend of Heike, River Hubble, spoke with her before she went on the hike. Fighting through tears, he said: “She definitely had the ability to change anybody’s life no matter what they were going through. If you interacted with Lauren, she was just an amazing individual.”

In the camera footage of the suspect the man can be seen sprinting, wearing dark clothing and a backpack.

Lt. James Hester of the Phoenix Police Department said no one should have to feel unsafe when enjoying a beautiful day in the outdoors in Phoenix. “The vicious attack on Miss Lauren Heike is unconscionable, and the grief and heartache being felt by your friends and family is immeasurable,” he said.

Lana Heike described her daughter as a sweet and beautiful child who was well-loved. “We really, really are begging people to come forward. If you think it might be something, if you have an inkling, please contact the police,” she said.