Body found in desert believed to be Buckeye teen; boyfriend arrested

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Leah Costa By Christina O'Haver Leah Costa By Christina O'Haver

TONOPAH, Ariz. – A body found in the desert on Monday is believed to be that of a Buckeye teen and sheriff's deputies have arrested her boyfriend.

Deputies with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office located the body they believe is 15-year-old Leah Costa south of Interstate 10 near 411th Avenue. She had been shot in the head, according to Officer Christopher Hegstrom.

Leah ran away from home with her 17-year-old boyfriend, Robert Duffell, on Christmas Eve.

Hegstrom said deputies combed the area known as Saddle Mountain Recreational Area after campers called police claiming they saw Leah walking in the area days prior.

Officers from the Department of Public Safety found Duffell Saturday night walking along I-10. Officers described his appearance and behavior as disoriented.

Duffell was questioned and arrested without incident early Tuesday morning. He is being charged as an adult and has been booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail. He faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and burglary stemming from a home invasion in Tonopah on Friday.

His bond was set at $1 million.

"Given the level of hostility which often occurs during an arrest, I am grateful this 17 year old was taken into custody without incident, that he did not attempt to harm himself or others," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a news release.


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