Updated 9 am with identifications of arrested and deceased, adds in italics.
A late night traffic stop in downtown Long Beach led police to a Phoenix home in which the driver's mother was found dead, a likely homicide victim due to evidence of "blood" and "trauma" according to Arizona authorities.
The CHP pulled over Zachary Baxter, 20, for driving without headlights and arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence, the arresting officer's report said. His mother, Dannette M. Baxter, 46, was later found dead in her Phoenix apartment, police there said.
The Arizona Republic's Haley Madden first had the story, and Long Beach Police officers were involved according to Phoenix police department public information Sgt. Trent Crump.
But Long Beach police spokeswoman Nancy Pratt said Monday night that she was not aware of the case and would need to check Tuesday. Generally, she said, the department won't comment on another's case.
Meanwhile, the Phoenix police and/or CHP had identified the driver, his age, address, his mother, her date of birth, and address, and the name of the CHP officer who first stopped him on Ocean Boulevard at 10:40 p.m. Sunday It was not clear why a CHP officer was patrolling a downtown Long Beach street on a weekend night; they are known to write tickets while awaiting weekday court appearances.
Patch is withholding the arrested suspect's name to avoid inadvertently identifying his mother, because it appeared the woman's next of kin (besides her son) had not been notified. She was 46 and her LinkedIn indicates she was a masseuse who'd just graduated with honors from the Arizona School of Massage Therapy earlier this year.
According to the CHP arrest report, an Officer Nguyen stopped the 20-year-old Baxter because his vehicle's headlights were out. The officer arrested him for DUI, possibly of a narcotic, and the man made a statement about his mother being dead in her home in Arizona. It was not clear his city of residence but it was possibly Tallahasee. The CHP report reads:
“At Long Beach Police Department Jail, [driver] stated to Officer Nguyen his mother was dead but would not elaborate when she died. Officer Nguyen and Long Beach Police Department coordinated with Phoenix Police Department who performed a welfare check at [his] mother's address. Phoenix Police Department discovered blood and an unidentified deceased female body within the residence. Phoenix Police Department is responding to the area in order to process the vehicle and take custody of [the arrested driver].”
"Phoenix Police Homicide Detectives are currently in the Long Beach area conducting follow up and hope to have additional information available later tonight or tomorrow [Tuesday)," the Phoenix PD release states.