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17-Year-Old Arrested In Woman’s Stabbing Death Investigation After Body Was Found On Hiking Trail

"We believe this was a random attack," police said after announcing they’d arrested a teenager in the stabbing death of Lisa Thorborg.

By Dorian Geiger
Lisa Thorborg Sought Hiking Partner Online Before Stabbing

A teenager was brought into police custody this week following the stabbing death of an elderly hiker whose body was found on a nature trail in Southern California in late November.

A 17-year-old who authorities have not yet publicly named was arrested on Dec. 14 in relation to the murder of retiree Lisa Thorborg, police said in a statement.

The 68-year-old’s body was discovered by a passerby on a hiking trail in Carlsbad, California on Nov. 23. A medical examiner later concluded that Thorborg had been stabbed.

It wasn’t immediately clear what led authorities to the teenage suspect. Police said that investigators “worked around the clock” and “in all directions” in the hunt for Thorborg’s alleged killer. 

Lisa Thorborg Pd

Initially, a white or Hispanic male who walked with a limp was identified as a possible person of interest. The individual was spotted in the vicinity of her body around the time of the suspected killing, police previously said. However, detectives suspect the juvenile currently in custody is not the individual that was described by witnesses.

"The physical appearance of the arrested suspect is different from the initial 'person of interest' description that was released," Carlsbad Police Lieutenant Jason Jackowski told Oxygen.com.

Authorities said the teen in custody wasn't known to Thorborg. 

"We believe this was a random attack," Jackowski added. "The investigation is continuing and we are still trying to determine a motive."

Shortly before her death, Thorborg had used a social media network popular with seniors in an attempt to connect with other hikers online, according to San Diego station KFMB-TV

“Hiking anyone?” Thorborg wrote on the site Nextdoor on Nov. 9. “I am looking for a friend to go hiking with. I am a moderate hiker, 68 years of age and I would love some company.”

The post was reportedly passed onto the police. But on Wednesday, police said that the social media post didn't factor into the current suspect's arrest.

The elderly woman’s stabbing sent shockwaves through the coastal city of Carlsbad, which is about 50 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We understand that the community has been on edge since that tragic day in November when Lisa was found on Hosp Grove Trail,” Investigations Lieutenant Jason Jackowski said in a press release. “Our unwavering mission has been to find the suspect for Lisa, her family and the community of Carlsbad.”

Thorborg, a retired physical therapist, was originally from Oregon and had recently relocated to California.

“It’s very sad,” Nicole Straka, a local resident, previously told KSWB-TV. “My heart breaks for her family. I was shocked.”

Other residents of the California city said they are now scared to go hiking.

“I come here by myself all the time — or I used to,” Angela Derby told the San Diego station. “And being that this is the one thing that we can do during this pandemic, is get out and exercise in broad daylight, and to have that taken away was something that we weren’t going to stand for.”

Authorities said the investigation remains open and ongoing. The case has been turned over to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

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