Man arrested in teen’s murder after body found in bonfire pit near Apache Junction

Anthonie Ruinard was arrested in connection with the death of 18-year-old Parker League, who was visiting Arizona after graduating high school in Nebraska.
Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 2:52 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2023 at 6:35 PM CDT
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APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has announced an arrest in the gruesome murder of a teen visiting from Nebraska. Deputies say 37-year-old Anthonie Ruinard was arrested on Wednesday and is now facing murder charges and several other charges stemming from the homicide. His bond is set at $2 million.

Authorities say 18-year-old Parker League was visiting friends in Arizona after graduating from a Nebraska high school. He was supposed to fly back to Nebraska on June 12, but when his family couldn’t get ahold of him, they reported him missing on June 14. They also looked at his bank statements and noticed somebody was using his debit and credit cards at a Burger King, Circle K, QuikTrip, Walmart and more. MCSO checked out surveillance videos and said they found Ruinard was using his cards. He was either in a 2022 Tesla Model X or a 2019 black Dodge Challenger.

Court documents have an account of the victim’s final hours. League was dropped off at a club in Phoenix just after midnight on June 11. About two and a half hours later, Ruinard and his girlfriend arrived at the same club. The three of them leave the club around 3:45 a.m. together. Around 4:30 a.m., Ruinard and League are seen on surveillance video pulling into a Chandler Arco gas station parking lot. The pair go inside, buy some items and leave together in a Dodge Challenger. This is the last time Parker was seen alive, MCSO said.

Later that day, just before 9 p.m., Ruinard tried to use League’s two credit cards to buy a rifle scope at a Chandler Walmart but was denied. MCSO said League was already dead when this happened.

On June 12, around 7 a.m., deputies uncovered League’s body in a burn pile in an area known as “The Pit” in the off-highway vehicle area of BullDog Canyon. It’s east of State Route 88 and Lost Dutchman State Park. Investigators said his head and hands were cut off and were next to his legs. The body was burned beyond recognition. Detectives had to use dental records to identify him. According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, League was stabbed multiple times in the back.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office wouldn’t confirm whether or not the body itself was burned inside the bonfire pit or the condition of the remains.

According to court paperwork, Ruinard’s house in a gated community near Arizona Avenue and Hunt Highway was searched on June 22. MCSO says detectives confiscated about 2 pounds of cocaine and about 1 pound 8 ounces of cocaine base. They also found the Challenger, where they said a blood spot the size of a basketball was found inside the trunk. It was a match to League’s blood, court paperwork said. MCSO said while detectives searched the house, they noticed a 10 feet by 15 feet section of carpet was missing from the bedroom floor. Ruinard and his wife say it was removed because they’re building an additional room in the bedroom. The Tesla Model X was also searched and MCSO says it found a laptop bag with four 1-gram baggies of cocaine and a rifle, which Ruinard wasn’t allowed to have as he’s a prohibited possessor.

According to court paperwork, Ruinard told detectives League sold him his debit cards for $500, and he threw them away after using them. Ruinard also claimed League tried to sell him a Nissan sedan for $1,500, but he couldn’t buy it since he didn’t have that much cash. Court records state Ruinard admitted to using cocaine and marijuana before meeting up with League on June 11, which “may have blurred his memory.”

Ruinard claims after he and League left the Chandler Arco, he dropped League off at a nearby business. But court documents said no surveillance video backed up that story. However, detectives said he used his gate code for his community shortly after he left the Arco. Despite multiple searches, it’s unclear where League was killed. There also isn’t a motive in the court paperwork. Ruinard was booked into jail on charges of first-degree murder, possessing narcotic drugs, having equipment and chemicals to make narcotics, one count of theft of a credit card, one count of fraudulent use of a credit card, two counts of possessing a weapon by a prohibited possessor and one count of concealing a body.

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