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Pregnant woman murdered in Tempe was working as Lyft driver

(MCSO photo)

PHOENIX – Police said Monday that the pregnant woman who was brutally stabbed to death in Tempe this weekend was working as a Lyft driver and left behind two young children.

Fabian Durazo, 20, remains in custody in La Paz County jail for the murder of Kristina Howato, 39, Tempe Police Sgt. Ron Elcock said during a news conference.

Howato had two children, ages 2 and 4.

Durazo was being held on two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of kidnapping, vehicle theft and armed robbery. He will be transferred to Maricopa County, Elcock said.

“This is definitely one of those instances that really is going to affect the police department for a long time and the community will think about this for a long time,” Elcock said.

LIVE: Tempe police are providing an update on the arrest of a suspect accused of stabbing and killing a pregnant woman over the weekend.STORY: bit.ly/2HAAwsh

Posted by ABC15 Arizona on Monday, January 28, 2019

Investigators believe Durazo ordered the car service early Sunday morning with the intention of stealing the vehicle, Elcock said.

Howato picked up Durazo near McClintock Drive and Rio Salado Parkway and drove him to an apartment complex less than a mile away near McClintock and University Drive.

There, Elcock said, Durazo stabbed Howato with a kitchen-type knife multiple times before fleeing in the victim’s Mercury SUV at around 1 a.m.

After using GPS technology to locate the vehicle, police pulled Durazo over on Interstate 10 near Quartzsite and arrested him without incident.

While in custody, he admitted to stabbing Howato and taking the SUV, Elcock said.

Elcock said there was no indication Durazo was under the influence of any substance or that he knew the victim before she picked him up.

A statement from officials with San Francisco-based Lyft said: “We were shocked and deeply saddened to learn of this tragedy, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims.”

Lyft says it is assisting with the investigation, adding that the passenger’s account has been permanently deactivated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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