Man wanted for multiple murders in Arizona, Nevada found dead after running from law enforcement
YUCCA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Kingman man wanted for murders in Arizona and Nevada was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday after hours of negotiation with police and SWAT in the Yucca desert.
Earlier this week, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department issued an arrest warrant for 26-year-old Hunter McGuire and his girlfriend, 32-year-old Samantha Branek, for a murder that occurred in Las Vegas on Oct. 17. During their investigation, detectives learned McGuire and Branek had been hiding out in Las Vegas after video surveillance linked McGuire to the murders of Retta Atkins and Darren VanHouten that happened in Kingman on June 28.
On Oct. 19, McGuire and Branek became suspects in another murder when the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of S. Centennial Rd. and W. Geronimo Dr. in Golden Valley for a homicide. Deputies found a man, later identified as 35-year-old Martin Eric Nelson. Jr, dead from a gunshot wound to the head.
While on scene investigating, deputies say a man, identified as Timothy Wayne Burt, 42, walked up to them and said he and Nelson came to the property to get a trailer that was stolen from them when McGuire confronted them and began shooting. Burt says he fired back at McGuire, tossed his weapon in a wash, and hid in the desert for 12 hours. Deputies say that Burt’s story changed multiple times, and he was ultimately arrested and booked for a felony of hindering prosecution.
Deputies searched the Golden Valley property where McGuire and Branek reportedly lived and found evidence that linked to the Atkins and VanHouten murders. Law enforcement in Arizona and Nevada issued a search warrant and a $4,000 reward for any information that led to McGuire’s arrest.
On Oct. 20, Branek’s car was reportedly seen at a truck stop in Yucca, where two women bought water and sandwiches. Police say the car then drove to a remote desert area east of Yucca. The next day, detectives found Branek’s vehicle traveling on Alamo Rd from the I-40 in Yucca. The driver of the car noticed law enforcement and sped away for 35 miles before sliding off the road and crashing.
McGuire (carrying an air rifle), Branek, and another woman, later identified as Brittany Conkling, ran away from the vehicle into the desert surrounded by trees and brush. The Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter flew over the scene and provided law enforcement with the suspects’ location. Police say that McGuire and Branek were hiding under a large tree, and Conkling hid in another area, where she later surrendered to law enforcement.
After four hours of negotiations, air surveillance, and no response from McGuire or Branek, the Lake Havasu City Police Department and the SWAT team went into the desert and found McGuire and Branek lying by each other, dead from gunshot wounds to the head. Police say that it appears McGuire shot himself, while it is unknown if Branek’s wound was self-inflicted. The Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine an official cause of death. Police also recovered more evidence related to the Atkins and VanHouten murders.
Detectives interviewed Conkling, who said that she knew McGuire was wanted for murder and aided him. Conkling also admitted to attempting to conceal evidence after running away from the vehicle. Police also learned that the trio was camping in a remote desert area. Conkling was arrested and booked into the Mohave County Adult Detention Facility for hindering prosecution.
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