‘Burned beyond recognition’: Man indicted for murder of recent high school grad found in pit


Parker League, 18, was found dead in a remote desert area Arizona’s Tonto National Forest (Screenshot: KTVK)
Inset: Anthonie Ruinard (via Maricopa County (Az.) Sheriff’s Office.

Nearly a year after the murder, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office indicted a man for the killing and dismemberment of an 18-year-old man found dead deep in the desert in an area known as “The Pit.”

Parker League, 18, had flown from Nebraska to the Phoenix area to celebrate his high school graduation. But the trip turned tragic when he was murdered. His body turned up June 12, 2023, in a burn pit in the Tonto National Forest. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office arrested 38-year-old Anthonie Ruinard on July 5 on charges of first-degree murder, two counts of narcotic drug possession for sale, one count of drug possession equipment for manufacturing, one count of narcotic drug-manufacture, two counts of possession of a weapon by a prohibited person, one count of theft of credit card, one count of fraudulent use of a credit card, and one count of abandonment or concealment of a dead body or body parts.

The grand jury ended up indicting Ruinard for murder and moving a human body.

Authorities say they were tipped off by transactions made with League’s bank card after his remains were found. The sheriff’s office submitted its case to prosecutors in October.

“Experienced homicide prosecutors in my office combed through nearly 4,000 pages of material submitted in this homicide case. After five months of careful review, we were able to secure this indictment,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said in a statement. “This is the next step in bringing justice to Parker League and his family.”

Prosecutors said League had been “dismembered, stabbed, and burned beyond recognition.” The medical examiner had to use dental records to positively identify the body.

“Detectives were able to obtain video footage from multiple locations where Parker’s bank card was being used after he was discovered deceased,” a statement from the Maricopa sheriff’s office at the time of arrest said.

According to the sheriff’s office, the suspect and victim were seen on video together before League was killed.

“Video footage from an Arco gas station in Chandler, AZ on June 11th showed Parker and the suspect, Anthonie leaving the store together in a black Dodge Challenger,” the statement says. “This was the last time detectives had Parker on video alive.”

After searching Ruinard’s house and car pursuant to a warrant, detectives found evidence of League’s DNA in Ruinard’s vehicle. Deputies said Parker’s last known location was believed to be a home in Tempe, Arizona, where he was visiting friends. His possessions were left behind there.

League had last messaged his brother June 10, according to ABC affiliate KNXV. He was scheduled to fly back to Nebraska on June 12 — the same day his body was found.

Hunter League, Parker’s brother, told KNXV that the death has hit his family hard.

“It’s hard to accept because he was the nicest kid in the world,” he said.

Ruinard is slated to go to trial in July.

Alberto Luperon and Marisa Sarnoff contributed to this report.

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