Kidnapping Suspect Dies


A 20-year-old Prescott Valley man --suspected in the kidnapping of a 19-year-old Payson man last week -- died Friday at a San Diego hospital, San Diego police reported. The man, Christopher Engelbrecht, suffered fatal stab wounds as he allegedly attempted to mug a border patrol dispatcher in the San Diego suburb of San Ysidro.

Engelbrecht's accomplice, 22-year-old Randy Scott Blaney of Payson, was arrested and has been charged with homicide, armed robbery, and attempted murder.

"Other charges may be pending from Arizona," said Lt. Glenn Breitenstein of the San Diego Police Department.

The duo's alleged crime spree began in Payson just after 10 p.m. July 12, when they hitched a ride from Greg Freye as he got off work at Payson's Wal-Mart. Freye drove the two men --who called themselves Rudy and Steve --around the Rim country for roughly two hours, as the two searched for two unidentified girls.

When Freye tired of the search, he offered to drop the pair off at the Houston Mesa Campground. There, the suspects pulled guns on the Payson man, ordered him into the backseat of the car, and drove to Gisela, according to police.

On the outskirts of the tiny community south of Payson, the suspects ordered Freye out of the car, told him to take off his clothes, and fled with his car.

Freye was able to make his way back to Gisela, and was heading toward Rye when a Gila County sheriff's deputy picked up the naked teen.

The two suspects made it to San Diego in the stolen 1990 Pontiac Sunbird, Breitenstein said.

Along the streets of San Ysidro the evening of July 14 -- two days after the alleged kidnapping -- the thugs made their fatal mistake: attempting the mugging of an elderly black man --a man who turned out to be an armed dispatcher for the U.S. Border Patrol.

As the two suspects tried to rob the man right on Beyer Boulevard in the community of San Ysidro, the victim pulled a knife and defended himself, stabbing Engelbrecht.

Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said, while San Diego has custody of the suspect involved in a more serious crime, he will be asking Gila County for a separate indictment on separate charges relating to the abduction of Freye.

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