2 women murdered in retirement community

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Andrew Thomas Lauro, left, and Montez Lavell Wright III (Photo: Surprise Police Department)
Andrew Thomas Lauro, left, and Montez Lavell Wright III (Photo: Surprise Police Department)

Police in Surprise, AZ, have apprehended two suspects in the murder of two women who were shot and killed Feb. 8 in a retirement community there.

Feb. 19, police booked Andrew Thomas Lauro, 24, on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of armed robbery and one count of first-degree burglary for incidents that occurred in the Sun City Grand retirement community residence of Barbara Leslie, 70, one of the victims. Also killed was her friend, Ruth Schwed, 75, who was visiting from Albuquerque, NM.

Facing the same charges as Lauro is Montez Lavell Wright III, 23, who was arrested in Michigan and is awaiting extradition back to Arizona. The victims did not know either of the men.

Police discovered the women's bodies Feb. 9 after Schwed's son called the department and asked officers to conduct a welfare check; he had not been able to reach Schwed or Leslie after finding $23,000 in charges on his mother's credit cards. Police say that the men had entered the residence via an open garage door. The men also stole Leslie's SUV and later abandoned it, according to the department. Police also found a cell phone belonging to Lauro in Leslie's home, which ultimately led them to him. Police continue to look for a woman reportedly involved with the crime.

The FBI, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office in New Mexico, the Southfield Police Department in Michigan and members of the public helped in the case, according to Surprise police. Detectives will work with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office as the investigation continues, the department said.

Sun City Grand, a Del Webb community, declined to comment to McKnight's Senior Living.

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