Police said the victim's boyfriend admitted to striking her several times while she was lying in bed

By Christine Pelisek
April 08, 2019 05:22 PM
Credit: Facebook

An Arizona man was arrested on suspicion of murdering his live-in girlfriend, whose body was discovered decomposing in a forested area.

Patrick D. Nagel, 62, is also facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a dead body in the beating death of 37-year-old Tika Young.

Nagel, who also was arrested for allegedly consuming liquor while operating a vehicle, is being held in the Coconino County Jail on a $1 million secured bond. He was taken into custody Thursday after a traffic stop, ABC 15 reports.

Young’s body was discovered on March 30 around 3:30 p.m. after deputies responded to a report of a “deceased body” found at Bly Pit, a disposal area for wood products, in the Blue Ridge area, according to a press release obtained by PEOPLE.

“The body had undergone some decomposition,” according to the release.

According to AZfamily.com, someone spotted part of Young’s leg sticking out from a pile of debris.

Police said Nagel admitted that he struck Young several times while she was lying in bed and then transported her body to the Blue Ridge area where she was eventually found.

“I always admired how tough she was,” Young’s friend Amber Romero tells PEOPLE. “She was always respected. Nobody messed with her. That is why it is so shocking that something like this could happen to her. The idea that somebody could do this to her when nobody messed with her kind of kills me.”

Patrick Nagel
| Credit: Coconino County Sheriff's Office

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A week before her body was found, Romero says Nagel reached out to Young’s allegedly estranged husband and claimed that she had moved to California for a job opportunity and to seek care for chronic pain issues.

“[Nagel] thought he was going to get away with it,” she says.

Young’s brother, Ian, told AZ Family that he believed Nagel had been impersonating his sister on social media after he allegedly killed her, as Facebook messages being sent from Young’s account seemed out of character.

“The whole time we were getting stories,” he said. “That’s a callous man to just lie, especially to my mother.”

Romero says she has fond memories of her friend. “She had this kind of bubbly energy,” she says. “She liked to keep things lighthearted. She was always easy to be around. Everything was fun. Everything was a joke. She could make you laugh about anything.”

“I am pretty devastated over this,” she adds.