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Fugitive arrested in KC allegedly killed woman, good Samaritan in Arizona

Updated: 2014-01-16T01:21:16Z

By CHRISTINE VENDEL

The Kansas City Star

A fugitive arrested in Kansas City on Tuesday night was wanted in connection with the Arizona slayings of a woman and a good Samaritan who came to her aid on New Year’s Day.

Michael D. Leday, 28, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder after he allegedly attacked Cindy Burnett, 46, then stole the car of Patrick Balbastro, 32, who had pulled over to help Burnett in Tucson. Leday allegedly used Balbastro’s car to run over Burnett, Balbastro and Balbastro’s girlfriend, who suffered critical injuries.

The day after the assault, Leday boarded a bus bound for Kansas City. On Monday, Leday’s girlfriend boarded a bus to Kansas City.

The Kansas City Fugitive Task Force tracked the couple to the Crown Lodge motel near Missouri 350 and Blue Ridge Cutoff and set up a surveillance team about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Officers spotted the pair walking to the motel and moved in, but Leday fled into a heavily wooded area.

About 40 law enforcement officers, including canine and tactical officers, swarmed the area and arrested Leday after an “intense 30-minute foot pursuit” through the woods and creek beds, according to a news release distributed Wednesday by the U.S. Marshals Service.

To reach Christine Vendel, call 816-234-4438 or send email to cvendel@kcstar.com.

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