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Young man pleads guilty to murdering woman on Carlsbad hiking trail

An undated photo collage of Lisa Thorborg on a missing flyer.
Carlsbad Police Department
An undated photo collage of Lisa Thorborg on a missing flyer.

A young man pleaded guilty Thursday to fatally stabbing a 68-year-old woman on a Carlsbad hiking trail when he was 17 years old.

The defendant, whose name is withheld because he was a minor at the time of the offense, admitted to a murder count filed against him in connection with the Nov. 23, 2020, death of Lisa Thorborg. A San Diego County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman said he is slated to be sentenced Sept. 1 in San Diego Juvenile Court.

Prosecutors previously indicated they would seek to try him as an adult, and a nearly two-week hearing on that issue was previously set to go forward next week.


During a hearing held in late 2020, a detective testified that the boy's DNA was found on Thorborg's shorts, and that surveillance footage from the nearby area captured a boy resembling the defendant running away from the park about 15 minutes after police believe Thorborg was killed.

A pair of flip-flops believed to belong to the boy was also found near the crime scene.

Surveillance footage and license-plate reader data also showed that the boy's grandmother dropped him off near the park about an hour before the attack.

Police set up a camera in the park following Thorborg's death that they alleged shows the boy venturing along the trail on multiple occasions after Nov. 23, often barefoot and carrying flip-flops.

He was contacted by police in early December and ran from officers, who took him into custody, at which point his DNA was taken, according to police.


Police and prosecutors have not disclosed a suspected motive for the killing, but testimony indicated the victim was not robbed or sexually assaulted.

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