Authorities call a young man’s death “malicious” after he was found in a bonfire pile in an Arizona desert.
Parker League, 18, had been visiting the state after graduating from a Nebraska high school. Now Maricopa County homicide investigators are digging into the circumstances of his mysterious disappearance and death.
Family members said they also noted two strange transactions in his bank account.
“We basically found out that someone was using his debit card to get food and tried to pay their electric bill with it,” his brother, Hunter Parker, told KNXV in a Thursday report.
The sheriff’s office reportedly said they were looking into all leads.
Parker flew to Arizona on June 9 and last messaged his brother on the 10th, family members reportedly said. He was supposed to fly back to Nebraska on June 12 — the same day his body was found in a remote desert area of the Tonto National Forest. Maricopa County deputies said they got a call on June 12 at about 7 a.m. regarding a body inside a bonfire pile, according to a statement obtained by Law&Crime.
“The information we have available for release is he was found in the pile burning,” sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez told KPNX. “So as far as the other details of whether he was placed there, whether that’s where he was, those are details we can’t get into. Only certain people know details of that crime, so they can’t be released to protect the integrity of the investigation.”
A family member reported to Tempe police on June 15 that Parker League was missing. The news hit his family hard.
“I got a call from my dad telling me to come home,” Hunter League said. “I asked him ‘why’ about three times, and the third time he tried to explain it, he just started breaking down.”
Deputies said Parker’s last known location was believed to be a home in Tempe, Arizona. His possessions were left behind there.
This is Parker League. The 18-year-old was visiting Arizona from Nebraska.
MCSO’s homicide unit is now investigating his disturbing death after his body was found in a bonfire pit in Bulldog Canyon.
— Bianca Buono (@BiancaBuono) June 22, 2023
Parker reportedly had been in Tempe to visit friends.
“I knew he had a place to stay,” Hunter League told KNXV. “I knew he got there. We texted… that’s about it.”
“He was visiting a friend,” Enriquez told KPNX. “The investigation continues to determine whether this was this a family friend. Was this a close friend? Was this somebody he met? We don’t know.”
The sergeant said they are working through possible leads. Some of those may turn out to be nothing.
“But we work every avenue, every angle, especially with a crime like this, in such a remote area,” he said. “We also rely on physical evidence. And you’re talking about the elements of where this was found a whole day after, maybe. So we deal with a lot of different elements that we have to go through. But to say that we know who did this would be premature.”
Hunter, two years older than Parker, called him his best friend.
“It’s hard to accept because he was the nicest kid in the world,” he said.
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