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Murder indictment does not say how victim died

Body disturbed by mountain lions
Posted at 6:04 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 21:05:00-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - It was a story that dominated the New Year’s holiday---human remains found eaten by mountain lions. Now we know more about murder charge filed this month against a human accused in the case. But it is still a mystery exactly how the victim died.

On New Year’s Eve human remains were found near the Pima Canyon trailhead. They had been disturbed by mountain lions. Arizona Game and Fish found and killed a group of three lions. Two showed evidence of having eaten the human remains.

An autopsy showed the remains were Steven Mark Brashear of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It concluded the lions did not kill Brashear but large parts of the autopsy are blacked out, including any discussion of what did kill the man.

Now an acquaintance of Brashear, 22 year old Daylan Jacob Thornton is charged with first degree murder, concealing a dead body, fraud, credit card theft and identity theft. He was indicted on those charges about ten months after Steven Brashear was found dead.

Earlier, he had been charged with stealing Brashear’s car.

The indictment does little to clarify how investigators think Brashear died. It does set a rough date---on or about December 8th---23 days before Brashear’s remains were found near the trail. But it makes no claim about how Thornton allegedly killed Brashear and while it says Thornton tried to hide Brashear’s body it only says he moved the body sometime in the 21 day span between December 8th and December 29th.

Thornton will stay in jail while he waits for his trial unless he can come up with a bond of one million dollars in cash.