Lauren Heike: Hikers relieved after arrest made in murder of woman on north Phoenix trail

There has been a lot of tension in a north Phoenix neighborhood after Lauren Heike, a 29-year-old woman, was murdered.

Now that her alleged killer has been arrested, hikers say they are feeling more at ease.

The area near Mayo Boulevard and Scottsdale Road, we're told, is a very popular hiking trail. Many people were out walking and running on the morning of May 5 – most of them were in groups, and some were by themselves.

One woman who says she comes here every and generally considers this a very safe area says she was out here a week ago, on the day that Heike was killed. She says she didn't notice anything suspicious that day. 

She is relieved now that the suspect is behind bars.

"Relief because I walk this every day," Maria Tereso said. "I was scared. I was like, I didn't move half across the country to have something like this happen."

Some hikers remain worried

Since the deadly attack, signs have been posted near the trail where Heike was found dead, warning people not to hike by themselves.

"It's just really tragic, I'd say," said Shannon Brousseau. "As a woman, it's something that's always in the back of your mind."

Hikers, meanwhile, say they do what they can to continue enjoying nature, while keeping themselves safe.

"As a mother to two daughters, it's especially concerning," said Brousseau. "It's not gonna make me stop what I do, but I do think we just continue to fight against that and look out for each other."

Self-defense teacher gives safety tips

"Sometimes, we think because we're in an affluent area like Scottsdale, we're immune to these kinds of things, and this has proven that we're not," said Tiffany Richards.

Richards teaches self-defense classes through her business, Peaceful Warrior Women. She said people should consistently look at their surroundings, and keeping all senses free is key.

"You definitely want to remove all distractions, and that means [earbuds] because once you have them in, or you are looking at your cell phone, or even talking to someone on your hike, you are taking away one of your senses," said Richards.

Richards said she also brings along items to defend herself.

"What I personally carry is called a Kubotan," said Richards. "I train with this, this is something I'm very comfortable with. Another thing is called a tactical pen. So this acts as a Kubotan, so if someone comes up to you, you could use it to strike the eyes, the ears, groin."