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Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman

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In January 2019 a seris of murders in which an assailant broke into a series homes in western Nevada, murdered the elderly inhabitants, and made off with valuable possessions terrified area residents for several days until a police manhunt identified and apprehended a suspect.

Criminal accusations[edit]

A region-wide manhunt for the serial killer began with a manhunt for the killer of Connie Koontz (56,) found dead in her Gardnerville home on January 10, 2019.[1][2][3] Gerald and Sharon David were found dead in their home in Reno on January 16. Sophia Renken was found shot to death in her home in Gardnerville on January 13.[4][5]

The manhunt continued for 9 days, with residents advised to leave outdoor lights on at night, lock doors, and keep a cellphone with them at all times, until authorities identified and apprehended the suspect.[6] Brandon Williamson (34) and Ryan Young led the team of 12 detectives working long hours to crack the case.[4] As the manhunt continued, area residents came to the station with pizza, beverages and homemade food for the investigators.[4] Security turned away camera crews from CNN and other media that attempted to film the investigators at work.[4] Within hours after Koonz's body was discovered, an investigator was on the phone with the Apple corporation attempting to trace an Apple watch that had been stolen form Koontz.[4] Just before 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18 Apple contacted police investigator Schultz with the information that a person named Sonia Guzman had attempted to connect a digital account to the watch that had been stolen from Koontz's murder.[7][4] Guzman was living in Carson City with her son, Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman.[4] That night, the Douglas County, Washoe County and Carson City sheriffs' offices and the Federal Bureau of Investigations started surveillance of Guzman and her son.[4] The following day, Jewelry belonging to Koontz and a ring belonging to Jerry David were found at a Carson City pawn shop.[4]

Guzman was arrested on January 19.[4][8]


Connie Koontz (56) left a 21-year-old daughter.[9] She worked as a customer service representative at Walmart.[4]

Sophia Renken (74) was found dead inside her home, about one mile from Koontz's house, on January 13.[2][3] She kept horses and was often seen riding about the neighborhood.[4]

81-year-old Gerald David and 80-year-old Sharon David were found dead in their south Reno home on January 16, 2019.[2][3] The Davids were active in the rodeo community, Gerald was President of the Reno Rodeo Association, and they supported breast cancer charities.[10]


A suspect is a 19 or 2-year-old illegal immigrant from El Salvador, was taken into police custody in Carson City, Nevada on January 19, 2019 on suspicion of having committed four murders[11][2] The initial charges were for possession of stolen property, two counts of burglary, and obtaining money under false pretenses.[12]

He is thought to have been living in Carson City for about a year.[13] He is a citizen of El Salvador in the United States illegally.[14][15]

Legal proceedings[edit]

Authorities had suspect under surveillance as they investigated the string of murder-robberies, and took him into custody as he approached a suburban gun store, fearing the he intended to purchase weapons.[8]

Following the killings, suspect was detained on an immigration hold. According to immigration officials, suspect "was likely in the United States illegally and was detainable."[2] according to a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “If he’s released from jail, law enforcement will contact us, and we will pick him up and we will start the proceedings for his deportation.”[16]

He is being held in the Carson City jail on bail of $500,000, in early February it was expected that he would be transferred ot the Washoe County jail, where he is to be held without bail.[16]

He is expected to be tried in each of the two counties where the killings took place, Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks and Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson each plan to lead the prosecution team in their respective counties.[16]

He appeared in court on January 23, 2019, where he was charged with possession of stolen property, burglary, and obtaining money under false pretenses.[17][18]

Political attention[edit]

President Donald Trump tweeted, "Four people in Nevada viciously robbed and killed by an illegal immigrant who should not have been in our Country. 26 people killed on the Border in a drug and gang related fight. Two large Caravans from Honduras broke into Mexico and are headed our way. We need a powerful Wall!"[19][20][11][6][21]

Three close family members of Sharon and Gerald David were invited to Washington, D.C. to attend the 2019 State of the Union Address.[10][21]

See also[edit]


  1. "Douglas County Deputies Searching for Gardnerville Killer". U.S. News & World Report. AP. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Shapiro, Emily (21 January 2019). "Man in custody for 4 'brutal' killings that shook Reno communities: Officials". ABC News. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lockhead, Colton (22 January 2019). "Lawmakers quiet on Trump, Northern Nevada killings". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 McAndrew, Siobhan (10 February 2010). "4 murders. 2 detectives. 1 key clue.: How 2 Douglas High grads-turned-lead investigators helped find suspect". Reno Gazette-Journal. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  5. Gearty, Robert (22 January 2019). "Illegal immigrant linked to Nevada killing spree was from El Salvador, according to ICE". Fox News. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Stevens, Matt; Rueb, Emily S.; Brown, Elisha (22 January 2019). "Arrest of Immigrant Suspected in 4 Nevada Killings Draws Trump's Attention". New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  7. Dornan, Geoff (28 January 2019). "Criminal complaint: Carson City man admits to all four killings". Tahoe Daily Tribune. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman arrested near large gun store, sheriff says". Washington Times. AP. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  9. Pearce, Ed (1 February 2019). "Remembering the victims: Connie Koontz". KOLO-TV. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  10. 10.0 10.1 McBride, Jessica (5 February 2019). "Gerald David & Sharon David: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Salvadoran man to be charged in Nevada killing spree". ABC local. AP. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  12. McAndrew, Siobhan (21 January 2019). "What we know about Wilbur Martinez-Guzman, held in connection with four Nevada homicides". Reno Gazette-Journal. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  13. Pearce, Ed (21 January 2019). "Murder suspect stayed in the shadows". KOLO-TV. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  14. Price, MIchelle; Ritter, Ken (24 January 2019). "Suspect in 4 slayings accused of selling victims' jewelry". Providence Journal. AP. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  15. "ICE clarifies immigration status of murder suspect". KOLO-TV. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Corona, Marcella (5 February 2019). "Reno, Gardnerville murders: Martinez-Guzman faces preliminary hearing in Carson City". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  17. "Details unfolding about man accused of killing four". KOLO. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  18. Lochead, Colton (8 February 2019). "Trial to be expedited for man accused in Northern Nevada killings". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  19. Rosenblatt, Kahlan (21 January 2019). "Man already in custody believed to be connected to string of Nevada murders". NBC News. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  20. Morton, Victor (21 January 2019). "Trump seizes upon Wilbur Martinez-Guzman case, demands 'powerful' border wall". Washington Times. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Stevens, Matt; Saveri, Mehir (4 February 2019). "Who Are the Trumps' State of the Union Guests?". New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2019.

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