GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (KOLO)-- UPDATE: Murder charges expected against suspect in Northern NV murders
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says no one is in custody after two gunshot killings in the Gardnerville Ranchos area.
DCSO is getting assistance from the Carson City Sheriff’s Office Investigations and Patrol Division, Reno Police Department Robbery Homicide Unit, the Nevada Division of Investigation Major Crimes Unit, State of Nevada Division of Parole and Probation, and the FBI.
DCSO is also working with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office because of unspecified similarities between the two Gardnerville murders and those of two people found dead in south Reno.
DCSO Sheriff Dan Coverley says the killing reported January 13, 2019 at 943 Dresslerville Road could be related to a death at 1439 James Road on or about January 10.
The victim in Sunday's death has been identified as 74-year-old Sophia Renken. The first victim, on James Road, has been identified as 56-year-old Connie Koontz. Both victims were killed in their homes; Koontz was found dead by her mother, who also lives in the home and is hard of hearing and disabled.
Investigators have no suspect information, but they say they believe there is a strong possibility the deaths are connected, based on the similar manner of entry into both homes, the fact that both victims are women and the fact that both victims lived fairly close to each other. Deputies are asking people to “lock their doors and windows, leave outside light illuminated during the hours of darkness, and ensure that all home security systems are functional. Please report any suspicious activity or noises immediately.”
Because the case is active, Coverley is not releasing many specifics about the investigation. But he says in both cases, the killer(s) entered the homes without force and without ringing doorbells or knocking on doors, and things were taken from both homes. He is not releasing information about the causes of death, though Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam says guns were used in both Gardnerville deaths.
Sheriff Coverley says a police chase and arrest in the area Sunday night does not appear to be related to the death investigation.
The Sheriff’s Office has increased patrols in the area.
A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or people involved.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has launched a Tip and Information Hotline to assist in reporting non-emergency information related to the murders. The hotline is in operation 8AM to 5PM Monday through Friday until further notice. The phone number is 775-783-6030. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hotline has been activated because of the high call volume on leads and tips. If you have a tip after 5 p.m. or on weekends please use the Secret Witness Hotline, 775-78-CRIME (775-782-7463), or Douglas County Communications Dispatch at (775) 782-5126.