A lovers triangle among Arizona teenagers culminated in a brutal stabbing, a juvenile on the run and a conclusion on the streets of Salt Lake City, where police say the young man wanted in the stabbing was arrested without incident.
The Friday apprehension of the 17-year-old happened within 24 hours of the incident, which left a young victim dead in a ditch in front of an Apache Junction, Ariz., home.
The teenager stabbed a 17-year-old multiple times between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. Friday, said Apache Junction Police Capt. Tom Kelly.
The slaying was the result of a lovers triangle: two young rivals vying for the love a young teenage girl, he said. In a secret pact, one youth had prearranged for the girl to bring the victim to him, police said.
On the morning of the killing, the girl gave the victim a ride. As they were talking, the girl said a "code word" aloud. That's when a youth lunged out from the back seat, where he had been hiding underneath a blanket. He then stabbed the other boy multiple times, Kelly said.
Although the victim got away from the scene, he collapsed and died in a ditch from a loss of blood, Kelly said. Ironically, the ditch was at the home of the father of the boy who was arrested.
Because the two young men looked so much alike, the father initially thought it was his own son who had been slain, Kelly said.
Authorities said they believed that the young man fled to Utah because his mother lives here. Once the Phoenix Airport Task Force confirmed he had fled to Utah, Arizona police contacted the Salt Lake Joint Criminal Apprehension Team, a multi-agency task force that searches and apprehends violent fugitives. The team jumped into action, Kelly said, once it received the description of the mother's car.
The teenager sought medical attention for cuts at University Hospital, where he told doctors he fell on his knife while running, said Jim Phelps, supervisor deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service.
Kelly said the boy might have cut himself during the attack since the victim was unarmed.
Phelps said 15 officers from the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team located the mother's vehicle after the two left the hospital. The team boxed in the vehicle when it came to a stop near 400 East and 600 South and arrested the boy at 8 p.m. Friday without incident, Phelps said.The names of the young man and the victim have not been released. The girl remains at large and is believed to be in the Gold Canyon, Ariz., area. The young man is being held at the Salt Lake Valley Detention Center. Meanwhile, an extradition warrant will be prepared to return the boy back to Arizona.