Queen Creek police chief defends lengthy investigation into Preston Lord’s beating death

Dec 22, 2023, 10:28 AM

There have still been no arrests made in the Oct. 28, 2023 fatal beating of Queen Creek teen Presto...

There have still been no arrests made in the Oct. 28, 2023 fatal beating of Queen Creek teen Preston Lord. (GoFundMe and Queen Creek Police Photos)

(GoFundMe and Queen Creek Police Photos)

PHOENIX — Nearly two months after 16-year-old Preston Lord was beaten to death in Queen Creek, the town’s police chief is defending the case that some believe should already be solved.

Families in the East Valley believe they know who killed Lord on Oct. 28, according to a Dec. 14 report from the Arizona Republic. The newspaper also reported possible links between the Combs High School student’s death and a group of affluent teenagers known as the “Gilbert Goons,” who have been connected to a string of violent assaults in the East Valley.

Social media video of other beatings have circulated since Lord was beaten on Oct. 28. He died of injuries in a hospital two days later.

Queen Creek Police Chief Randy Brice said Thursday in a statement investigators are working to authenticate and corroborate all evidence.

“I understand that it is incredibly frustrating for the public that there has not yet been an arrest,” Brice said. “To secure a conviction, the county attorney must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt – social media posts are not enough.”

What progress has Queen Creek Police made in the Preston Lord case?

Queen Creek PD is working with the FBI and other East Valley jurisdictions on the investigation into the case.

“While the community wants more information, limited information can be released to preserve the ongoing investigation and future prosecution,” Brice said.

Brice added that the investigation has been hindered at times by parents who haven’t allowed their children to share information pertaining to the case.

The chief said those parents have “actively refused” participation in the investigation.

“We need people to come forward and stand up for Preston,” Brice said.

Authorities have searched wealthy neighborhoods in Gilbert since Lord’s death, according to reporting by the Republic.

Brice insists the social status of potential suspects isn’t playing a part in the investigation.

“I also want to assure the community that we will continue to investigate all leads and submit charges for those who were involved with the Oct. 28 attack, regardless of connections to businesses, wealth, religious affiliation or political party,” Brice said.

How can the public help with the Preston Lord case?

Queen Creek set up a portal at where video, photos and other media can be submitted as potential evidence.

Information can also be called into the FBI’s tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).

Brice is urging students and families to be vigilant. A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in Lord’s death.

“Our teens should be encouraged to speak up and tell the police or a trusted adult when they see illegal behavior and they should be encouraged to leave situations that feel unsafe or dangerous,” Brice said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

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Queen Creek police chief defends lengthy investigation into Preston Lord’s beating death