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APACHE JUNCTION — A 40-year-old Apache Junction man was arrested for placing his son in a choke hold after he believed his son and his wife had exchanged bodies, police said.

Apache Junction Police believe drugs may have been involved.

According to a probable cause statement, Chase Heighton was arrested and charged with domestic violence aggravated assault of a child under the age of 15 on May 12 about 8:30 p.m.

A woman called 911 saying her “stepfather, Chase Heighton, currently had her brother in a choke hold asking who he was,” according to court records.

The woman told police, “Upon coming home from Taco Bell, both she and her friend had heard yelling and screaming from inside the residence between both her stepfather, Chase, and her mother. She said while arguing, she could hear her mom yelling at Chase to let go of her brother, while Chase could be heard yelling at the mother, ‘Who are you?’” a police probable cause statement reads.

Police learned that the boy who was the subject of the choke hold was asleep at the time of his father’s attack. The mother attempted to separate the father and son during the struggle but was not successful.

“Chase (Heighton) began accusing both the mother and son of ‘switching bodies.’ She advised that her husband Chase is schizophrenic and had not slept in days. When asked if Chase had taken illegal drugs, she stated that she did not know,” the AJPD officer wrote.

After talking to several witnesses, the AJPD officer approached Heighton, who was sitting just outside the front door in a lawn chair. He was arrested and booked at the AJPD.

“While talking to Chase (Heighton), he advised he had gone into his son’s room due to not knowing who he was. Chase said he then began to ask his son for his name, in which he did not give his correct name to him. Chase advised he believed both his wife and son had ‘switched their bodies.’ Chase further advised he had placed his arm around his son to prevent her from trying to take his son from him,” the officer wrote.

The officer noted in the report that Heighton appeared to have erratic behavior, with his hands and legs shaking while he was seated in a chair. His eyes were bloodshot and glassy and his pupils were “pin points,” according to the officer’s report. The officer also wrote that Heighton was mumbling and talking to himself during the interview.

Heighton told officers that he was not mentally ill but he did say that he uses methamphetamine. He told police he had taken meth five days earlier but he denied that that was a reason for this incident to happen.

He said he only put the headlock on his son because he “thought they were going to leave” him.

While Heighton was at the police station, a mental health petition for evaluation was authored and he was transported to Horizon Health and Wellness due to his comments and actions.

According to court records, Heighton was not jailed but released on his own recognizance.


Jim Headley is a reporter covering breaking news, crime and justice around Pinal County. He can be reached at

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