Idaho man killed on playground was stabbed 20 times

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IDAHO FALLS — Authorities have arrested and charged an 18-year-old man in connection with the murder of Deraek Patrick Larson.

Brian J. Mitchell of Shelley, was arrested at 2:45 a.m. Thursday and booked into the Bonneville County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder, EastIdahoNews.com reported.

Larson, an Idaho Falls resident, was found dead on playground equipment in Tautphaus Park at 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 16. He was dressed only in boxers.

During a press conference held Thursday, Police Chief Mark McBride said Larson had been stabbed more than 20 times. The man who discovered the body said Larson had stab wounds on his neck and back.

McBride did not disclose information on the motive or the nature of the weapon used in the attack.

“I don’t know what the motive was,” McBride said at the press conference. “(Detectives) just finished most of the interviews early this morning … and the reports haven’t even been written.”

Mitchell was officially charged with second-degree murder this afternoon. Second-degree murder is punishable by imprisonment for at least 10 years, and the imprisonment may extend to life, according to Idaho Code 18-40.

No other suspects have been named in the case.

“At this time we’ve identified a potential eyewitness we’ve been talking too,” McBride said. “We don’t believe there is anyone else involved in the crime itself, but we are still talking to people.”

McBride declined to comment on whether there was a relationship between Mitchell and Larson.

Police said Larson was killed at the scene. McBride declined to comment about why Larson was only dressed in boxers.

Witnesses told EastIdahoNews.com on Sunday that a pair of soiled pants and shoes were found at the park. McBride said those clothes have not been positively linked to Larson.

McBride said police have spent about 530 hours investigating the crime. Though there has been an arrest, the investigation continues as detectives follow up on information.

Larson was raised in Salmon and recently moved to Idaho Falls. Family members say he was most recently living with his brother.

EastIdahoNews.com interviewed Larson’s mother, Debbie Larson on Wednesday.

“He was a good, nice kid. He would never hurt anybody,” she said.

Debbie Larson could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Court records show Larson had run-ins with the law and was on supervised probation for a 2013 DUI until April.

The documents also show he previously worked at the Frosty Gator in Idaho Falls.

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