Why Do Police Believe a Group of Teens Murdered Preston Lord Outside a Party, Despite Not Knowing Him?

"He was doing the right thing but was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Preston Lord's parents said in a statement to PEOPLE

<p>Go Fund Me</p> Preston Lord

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Preston Lord

Months after 16-year-old Preston Lord was fatally beaten at a Halloween party in Arizona, new information is being released, including authorities' belief that none of the seven suspects charged in connection with Lord's killing knew him prior to the incident.

Talan Renner, 17, Talyn Vigil, 17, William Owen Hines, 18, Dominic Turner, 20, Taylor Sherman, 19, Treston Billey, 18, and Jacob Meisner, 17, are all charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with Lord's killing, Queen Creek Police announced. Turner, Meisner and Billey are additionally charged with aggravated robbery. They have all pleaded not guilty.

According to a nearly 1,200-page police report obtained by News 12 and AZFamily, the seven suspects did not know Lord before the alleged beating on Oct. 28, 2023. The violence allegedly stemmed from an incident in which three of the suspects are accused of stealing a gold necklace from one of Lord's friends, Fox 10 Phoenix reports, citing the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell confirmed to AZ Central in early March that a friend of Lord's that evening had a chain with a medallion on it stolen from him at the party. She also explained that the kidnapping charges against the suspects stemmed from Lord not being allowed to leave during the beating. "This was a group effort to both confine and to beat Preston," Mitchell told the outlet.

The seven suspects charged in connection with Preston Lord's death
The seven suspects charged in connection with Preston Lord's death

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According to AZFamily, which cites the police report, someone who knew Renner said Renner admitted to throwing the first punch during the deadly fight, adding that Renner "said he hammer pounded Preston in the face four times and everyone surrounded him and started kicking him.” Witnesses also claim they saw Billey stomp on Lord's head, the outlet reports, citing the police report. The report also alleges that Renner bragged to his football team about the violence.

Renner was allegedly taken to his family's cabin three hours away from where he lived after the fight occurred in October to allow time for his hands to heal, AZFamily reports, citing the police report.

Additional suspects also allegedly spoke about the beating through text and on social media on numerous other occasions, according to the police report.

Related: Teen Football Player Accused in Preston Lord Beating Allegedly Hid at Family Cabin So Hands Could Heal: Report

"I can't imagine what it would be like to send your kid out to a Halloween party and have him not come back," Mitchell told AZ Central.

<p>Queen Creek Police Department</p> Preston Lord

Queen Creek Police Department

Preston Lord

In an exclusive April 3 statement to PEOPLE released through their lawyer, Bryn K. DeFusco, at DeFusco Law, P.L.C., Lord’s parents, Nick Lord and Autumn Curiel, opened up about the loss of their son.

“Preston Lord was a beloved son, grandson, brother, nephew, cousin, uncle, and friend to many – always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He was doing the right thing but was in the wrong place at the wrong time, in a neighborhood where he had always felt safe,” the statement said.

Related: Preston Lord’s Family Says Killing Is ‘Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare’ After Suspects’ Texts Are Revealed (Exclusive)

The statement continued, “His parents, Nick Lord and Autumn Curiel, each shared a close bond and relationship with him. The emptiness left in his absence is a constant reminder of the easygoing and generous soul they lost. Preston was a National Honor student, student council member, and three-sport athlete. He was looking forward to his basketball tryouts the following Monday. Instead, his life ended violently, extinguishing all his potential.”

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