Man eaten by mountain lions in Arizona was murdered by friend, sheriff's office alleges
11/17/2020 11:38 am PST
By Craig Smith, KNXV
TUCSON, Ariz. (KNXV) -- A man's remains were eaten by mountain lions in December, and investigators' reports say the man's companion said he left him injured to die along the Pima Canyon Trail.
The reports from Pima County Sheriff's detectives do not make it clear precisely how Steven Mark Brashear, 66, died. Daylan Jacob Thornton, 21, is charged with murdering Brashear.
Just before New Year's Eve, hikers found Brashear's body near the Pima Canyon Trail partially eaten by mountain lions. An autopsy concluded the lions did not kill Brashear, that he was already dead when the animals found him.
At first Daylan Thornton was charged with stealing Brashear's car. After months of investigation, Pima County Sheriff's detectives charged Thornton with killing Brashear.
Thornton told deputies a conflicting story but eventually admitted they went to the Pima Canyon Trail. He said Brashear either fell or jumped off a cliff because Brashear was suicidal over his divorce.
Thornton said Brashear was badly hurt and called for help. But Thornton said he did not help him. Detectives say instead, Thornton met with an ex-boyfriend, then arranged a roughly 2 a.m. date through Grindr.
Detectives say he returned to the trail at least twice including a time when he removed Brashear's phone from his remains and placed it on another trail well away from where Brashear died.
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