Man accused of murdering accomplice during botched Arizona paddleboat theft

An Arizona man has been booked on suspicion of murder after a bizarre chain of events involving the attempted theft of two paddleboats in a private pond south of Lake Pleasant, Ariz., roughly 40 miles northwest of Phoenix.

A man went missing Saturday after he and two other men bungled their attempt to steal two paddleboats from the pond, The Arizona Republic reported. The body of the missing man, identified as 21-year-old Rueben Diaz, was found underwater Sunday.

The other two men, Eduardo Mercado, 20, and Julian Tamayo, 26, were hospitalized after being rescued from the pond and were initially facing either theft or burglary charges.

Later Sunday, however, police said the trio of men had been using meth prior to the incident and that foul play was involved in Diaz's death.

"The three men had tied the two paddleboats together, and Mercado became angry when Diaz was paddling his boat in the opposite direction Mercado and Tamayo were paddling theirs," a police statement said.

"Mercado threw Diaz in the water, prevented him from coming back aboard the boats, then jumped in and held him under the surface repeatedly, until Diaz finally disappeared below the surface."

Mercado has been booked on suspicion of second-degree murder, while Tamayo faces additional charges of hindering prosecution and aggravated assault of a police officer, after an incident at a police station.

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