2 Louisiana Teens Charged With Murder After Discovery of Missing Arizona Professor Junseok Chae's Body

Javian Ezell and Gabrielle Austin
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Two Louisiana teenagers have been charged with murder after the body of an Arizona State University professor was discovered in a landfill months after he was reported missing. Engineering professor and associate dean Junseok Chae was reported missing after he did not come home from work March 25, CNN reported, citing the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department.

Five days later, police in Shreveport, Louisiana alerted the Maricopa County authorities that they had stopped two teens driving a vehicle that allegedly belonged to Chae. 

The teens, Javian Ezell and Gabrielle Austin, both 18, were arrested and extradited back to Arizona, where they were charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and theft of means of transportation, the Associated Press reported. Both are being held on $1 million bond. It is not clear what, if any, relationship the suspects had to Chae. 

Authorities said after questioning the suspects, they came to believe Chae had been killed and his body had been disposed of in a dumpster. After searching a landfill in Surprise, Arizona for weeks, investigators found Chae's remains and other evidence, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department. 

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone told KSAZ that investigators searched every inch of the landfill in the hopes of finding Chae's remains and providing closure for his family. 

"Finding a victim is beyond a needle in a haystack," Penzone said. "A lot of agencies came together, hundreds of man-hours in the sun, going through sifting every piece of dirt in that landfill."

"We are saddened by the loss of ASU community member Junseok Chae. Our condolences go out to professor Chae’s family and friends," a university official said in a statement, according to the Daily Beast.

Court records show Ezell and Austin are due to appear in court Sept. 3. 

RELATED STORIES

Bodies of Woman and Stepdad, Missing From Arizona, Believed to Have Been Found in Buried Car in Iowa: Police

Arizona Man Originally Suspected in 1978 Cold Case Murder and Sexual Assault Arrested 42 Years Later

Arizona Mom Goes Missing in Belize After Boat Trip to Small Island