The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man Thursday and charged him with first-degree murder in connection with a body found near Blue Ridge over the weekend.
Authorities preliminarily identified 37-year-old Tika Young of Happy Jack as the victim and detained Patrick Nagel, 62, of Happy Jack as their lead suspect. The Sheriff's Office originally released information about the death on Tuesday.
Gerrit Boeck, lieutenant for the office's criminal investigation unit, said Young and Nagel shared a home and were roommates, but has not confirmed when the crime occurred.
"The day range isn't 100%," Boeck said. "We're out there working on it right now to hammer that out."
Investigators believe that Nagel killed Young in their home in Blue Ridge before taking her body to Bly Pit, where she was found after a foot was reported sticking out of a pile of waste. Bly Pit is a green-waste dump maintained by the Forest Service in the Blue Ridge area and takes wood debris, a category that includes needles, branches and other organic substances.
"From what I understand, there were people out there and they saw the body and they reported it. They located a human foot, was the initial call for service," Boeck said. "A deputy confirmed it was a body, and that's when we went out there."
The tree droppings and branches at Bly Pit are stacked and eventually burned by the Forest Service, Boeck added.
Deputies secured a search warrant for Young and Nagel's home based on evidence they had about the victim's identity. Deputies found further evidence of the crime at the home.
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Boeck confirmed that Young was found with blunt force injuries, but it is currently unclear what was used in the homicide.
Deputies found Nagel during a traffic stop on Wednesday. The stop was initially carried about because Nagel had an open container of alcohol in the car, deputies said. Nagel was brought in for questioning and admitted to striking Young several times while she was lying in bed, Boeck said.
Nagel said he then moved her, concealing her body in Bly Pit, Boeck said.
Nagel has been booked into the Coconino County Detention Facility and is charged with first-degree homicide, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, tampering with physical evidence, concealment of a dead body and consuming liquor while operating a vehicle.
He is being held on a $1 million bond while the investigation continues.
Boeck said he was pleased with the work deputies did on the case.
"It was a great team effort, our detectives worked long and hard to get where we’re at now," Boeck said.