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Murders at Montreaux: 15 years later unsolved

Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 7:17 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -By all accounts, retired airline flight engineer Albert Musalo and his wife, Joan, lived a quiet life centered around their family. Married for 53 years, they were rarely away from each other’s company.

On March 28, 2006, they were planning a trip east to visit family and their daughter Joanne was trying to call them to invite them to dinner. Getting no answer she went to their home in the exclusive, gated community Montreaux.

“I saw some mud on the floor of the dining room,” Joanne Kohls remembered later, “and at that point, I knew something was wrong.”

Her parents had been shot in bed, apparently as they slept early that morning.

From the beginning, investigators faced some puzzling details. No sign of robbery. Nothing in the couple’s background would have put them at risk and yet it did not seem to be the random act of a deranged killer.

The home was in a gated community with security. It was believed the killer had used a trail behind the community to approach the house and the phone line had been cut, indicating the killer knew something about the home. But no motive and for investigators, that presents a problem.

“Over the years as we’ve tried to seek that out it’s been one roadblock after another,” says Washoe County Sheriff’s Sgt. West Urban.

Sgt. Urban inherited the case a few years ago and following a promotion and return from patrol duty, he took it back. The case file now fills 17 binders and it’s growing.

“We continue to sporadically get Secret Witness tips that may point us in a direction. We follow every lead.”

Over the years those leads have produced potential suspects or at least persons of interest, most recently in 2017 when a tip had them looking at a murder suspect in Alaska.

“Working with the FBI and their behavioral analysis unit in Quantico we built a very accurate timeline for that individual and based on that timeline we’ve ruled him out.”

Investigators do have one piece of physical evidence they didn’t initially reveal--DNA believed to belong to the killer left at the scene. But still no match.

So the work continues. Urban doubts the answer lies in the case file. Too many good investigators have been through it.

It lies instead in the hope that DNA will someday produce a match or that someone will remember something about that snowy March in 2006 and step forward with some detail that will prove the key.

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