Murder charges expected against suspect in killings

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A man apparently in the United States illegally is the primary suspect in four Northern Nevada murders, and no one else is being sought.

Mugshot courtesy Carson City jail

January 20, 2019, Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam hosted a multi-agency news conference to announce the arrest of 19-year-old Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman. Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong says the suspect had lived in the Carson City area about a year, but has no local record.

The suspect is so far charged with burglary, possession of stolen property and obtaining money by false pretenses, and he is on an immigration hold. District Attorneys from Washoe County and Douglas County hope to file murder charges against him in the coming days, saying there is enough evidence to support such charges.

The suspect was taken into custody Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Carson City. Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong says he was arrested on an immigration charge after being rammed by deputies on Carson Street in the Carson Mall parking lot. The suspect had already been identified as a person of interest through the investigation and tips from the public, and had been under surveillance. That operation involved several Carson City neighborhoods.

No information about a possible motive for the killings has been offered.

The first killing took place January 9 or 10, 2019. 56-year-old Connie Koontz was found shot to death at her home in the Gardnerville Ranchos. She was found dead by her mother, who also lives in the home and is hard of hearing and disabled.

Fundraiser in Memory of Connie Koontz

January 13, 74-year-old Sophia Renken was found dead in her home about a mile away, also shot to death.

January 16, the bodies of 81-year-old Gerald David, a former Reno Rodeo President, and his wife, 80-year-old Sharon David, were found dead in their home on La Guardia Lane in south Reno, near Zolezzi. They also had been shot to death.

Sheriff's spokesman Bob Harmon says a neighbor had noticed something didn't seem to look right on the property, and called someone familiar with the family. That person looked around and determined there was reason to call deputies, who found the bodies inside the home.

January 18, acting on tips, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue crews searched the southern part of the 580 corridor in Washoe Valley on the chance there might be evidence connected to the killings. Detectives say they did pick up some things during that search, but nothing found there led to Saturday's arrest.

Sheriff's Offices in Washoe and Douglas County and Carson City worked closely during the week and a half of investigations with other area agencies, including Reno and Sparks Police, as well as the FBI.