2 teens accused in murder of Arizona State University professor

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Two Louisiana teens are accused of murder after the body of a missing Arizona State University professor was found at an Arizona landfill, authorities said.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the remains of Junseok Chae were found July 17 at Northwest Regional Landfill in Surprise, KTVK reported. The professor was reported missing when he did not return home from work March 25, the television station reported. Authorities had been searching for Chae since May 11.

Javian Ezell, 18, and Gabrielle Austin, 18, were extradited from Louisiana to Arizona and were each charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and vehicle theft, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Their bail was set at $1 million apiece, the Arizona Republic reported.

Chae was an associate dean for research at ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, KNXV reported. Chae had been with the university since 2005 and held four U.S. patents, the television station reported.

On March 30, police in Shreveport, Louisiana, contacted the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, saying they had responded to a “suspicious” vehicle call that involved Ezell, Austin and a third person, the Republic reported. Shreveport officials determined the three people were riding in Chae’s car, KTVK reported.

Shreveport police officials said they later obtained statements from the three people, which led them to believe that Chae may have been murdered, KSAZ reported.

Austin and Ezell were in the custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, the Republic reported.

Police have not determined if there was a motive for the professor’s death, the newspaper reported.