FBI offers $10,000 reward for info leading to arrest in death of Queen Creek teen
QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) -- The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to a suspect or suspects in the death of Preston Lord, a teenager who was violently attacked at a Halloween party in Queen Creek last month.
While no arrests have been made, the Queen Creek Police Department provided an update on Tuesday, saying that they’ve identified “multiple persons of interest” as the homicide investigation continues. Detectives say they’ve received hundreds of tips and combed through extensive interviews, warrants and court orders to find the people responsible. The police agency has also been receiving help from other Valley law enforcement agencies in recent days. Now that the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office is involved, the feds are offering up a tipline and a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
“Parents, we are asking you to talk to your kids. If they have direct evidence related to this case, we need you to come forward. For those who attended this party or saw the incident, if you are being threatened or you are scared to say something, please talk to your parents or someone you trust, “said QCPD Chief Randy Brice. “Do the right thing and help us bring justice for Preston and his family.”
Last week, a vigil was held to remember the beloved 16-year-old who was a junior at Combs High School in San Tan Valley. Lord was killed on the night of Oct. 28 after officers first responded to a disturbance call involving teens near 194th Street and Via Del Rancho. Police arrived minutes later to find no evidence that a crime had occurred. About an hour later, QCPD again showed up at the home as first responders found Lord seriously hurt while lying on the road. He died after his heart stopped two days later, caused by the severity of the injuries sustained during the assault.
In the days that followed, false social media swirled that officers were already at the party when the attack happened, but authorities refuted those claims. An estimated 100 to 200 people were at the holiday party, and adults were present when authorities arrived. A GoFundMe created a family member has since raised nearly $100,000 as of noontime Tuesday.
“A tragic, horrible, senseless case,” said Jim Egelston, who worked as a special agent and supervisor with the FBI for nearly three decades. He currently owns Baseline Investigations, running private investigator. He’s also been following Lord’s case.
Egelston said the biggest reason for the FBI’s involvement is likely the need for more resources. Preston’s death marks the Queen Creek Police’s first homicide investigation since it was formed in January 2022. As the FBI is trained in victimology and crime scene analysis, agents also have access to special technology that could help solve the case.
“Experts in cellular telephone analysis, experts in social media review, experts in behavioral analysis,” he explained. “I’m sure that law enforcement officials are looking into Preston’s social media posts,”
Egelston believes the suspects are likely teens. He said young people are more likely to talk, at least amongst themselves, so it may help get to the bottom of what happened and move the investigation along in some ways if the suspects are minors. “Hopefully, the parents of these individuals, if they know anything about it, they’ll do the right thing and bring it to the attention of law enforcement and not try to hide it or protect the individuals who may have been involved,” said Egelston. “Evidence might still be at risk of being lost or destroyed if they say anything that would tip off an individual who might be identified as a suspect.”
He said at this stage of an investigation, it’s important not to share too much with the public. “Why did this happen to this young man? Who was involved? But all of those concerns are secondary to the investigation and successful prosecution of a heinous case like this,” said Egelston.
Egelston said the FBI’s reward will likely increase the volume of tips but not necessarily the quality because it may encourage people to call in with unreliable information.
Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI’s toll-free tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). Photo and video evidence can also be submitted at fbi.gov/prestonlord.
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