Two 16-year-old boys, arrested Wednesday in the brutal slaying of a Pinal County girl, plotted for two weeks before stabbing, strangling and beating Amber LeAnn Hess because they didn't like her, sheriff's officials said. The arrests of Todd Hoke and Nicolas Castillo came three days after her parents arrived home from a weekend away to find a bloody kitchen, and their 17-year-old daughter missing.

Hoke, who was a close friend of the girl, and Castillo went to the house southeast of Queen Creek after her parents left town Friday, authorities said. There, the boys were let inside, and attacked the girl, Pinal County Sheriff's Deputy Chief Clint Lee said.

Then, they dumped her body, which was found partially burned, in the desert northwest of Florence. Photos of some of her classmates were found near the body, which authorities identified through dental records.

Pinal County Sheriff Chris Vasquez said this is the worst slaying he's come across in his 30-year career.

"In my entire career in Pinal County law enforcement, I've never seen a more brutal murder than this," he said.

Authorities received an anonymous tip about the boys asking for supplies to clean up after the killing, Vasquez told The Associated Press. The boys were later arrested after being interviewed by detectives and search warrants were served at their two homes, Pinal County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jerald Monahan said.

They were linked to the crimes based on fingerprints and weapons. Hess' car, which was missing when her parents came home Sunday, was found Monday night a couple of homes down from one of the boys.

A $1 million bond was set for each teen on a first degree murder charge. Preliminary hearings are scheduled in Pinal County Superior Court for July 3, according to the Pinal County Clerk of Court's Office.

Hoke's family declined to comment but were concerned and praying for the Hess family, a Hoke family spokeswoman said.

"They really want their privacy right now," said the woman, who would not identify herself. "They're just trying to come together as a family."

She said the family described their son as a good boy who they love.

Hoke has no juvenile court record in Maricopa and Pinal county.

Castillo does. He was charged with assault and disorderly conduct in connection with a fight with another male in Queen Creek on Nov. 16, 2006, according to Pinal County court records. On Feb. 23, he was placed on six months probation, given a curfew, community service and ordered to undergo anger management.

On Wednesday afternoon, the front porch of the Hess home, in the 32000 block of North Nancy Way, was decorated with a small collection of flowers next to a cross. Sharon Zachary of Queen Creek didn't know Amber Hess but left a lighted candle.

Hess' parents, who appeared at a sheriff's office news conference, were left asking why their daughter was killed.

"What were they thinking?" her father Mike Hess said.

Candy Hess added, "I do not understand why he (Hoke) would do this."

Hoke and Castillo live within a couple of miles of the Hess home, and all three teens attended Coolidge High School, where Hess graduated in May.

Hoke and their daughter were close, like brother and sister but were never boyfriend-girlfriend, her parents said. He came to their house to play video games and watch movies, Candy Hess said.

"We treated him like family," she said. "We took him into our home."

But they had a falling out about two months ago, and Hoke had called her a disrespectful name, Candy Hess said.

LeeAnn Solomon, who was close friends with Amber Hess, said Hoke and Hess had once dated. Solomon, 15, said that about three weeks ago Hoke called Hess and left rude messages and was aggressive with her. But, Solomon said, he wanted to get back together with her.

Solomon said she'll remember a friend who liked shopping, sports and designing clothes, the girl who wanted to go to college but also talked about getting rich and going on vacation.

"She was a loving person," she said. "She would never hurt nobody."