Buckeye Teenager's Body Found in Desert, Boyfriend Arrested

The body of a 15-year-old Buckeye girl who ran away from home last week was found yesterday in a desert area, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Leah Costa ran away from home on Christmas Eve with her 17-year-old boyfriend, and deputies have arrested that boyfriend on several charges, including Costa's murder.

After the two went missing, Arizona Department of Public Safety officers found the boyfriend (his name hasn't been released at this point) walking along Interstate 10 on December 27. According to an MCSO spokesman, the boyfriend was "disoriented" when officers found him.

Two days later, deputies responded to a tip from hikers who said they'd seen a girl walking out in the desert area west of Phoenix a few days earlier.

Costa's body was found yesterday near 411th Avenue, south of Interstate 10. According to the Sheriff's Office, the girl had been shot in the head.

According to a statement from the Sheriff's Office, the 17-year-old boy was questioned and ultimately arrested on charges of second-degree murder, as well as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and burglary, stemming from an unrelated home invasion in Tonopah on December 26.

MCSO spokesman Chris Hegstrom tells New Times he doesn't have any additional information about the killing or arrest.

The 17-year-old was booked into a juvenile detention facility.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >