Two individuals have died and two others have been arrested as a result of a two-state search for a homicide suspect.
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) provided an update on the case on Saturday, stating that the hunt for Hunter Allen McGuire ended Friday afternoon.
On Wednesday, October 19, MCSO responded to allegations of a probable homicide in Golden Valley. Deputies arrived to find a guy deceased behind a parked vehicle at a property.
Martin Eric Nelson Jr., 35, of Kingman, Arizona, was identified as the suspect. He had a gunshot wound to the head when he was discovered.
During their investigation, investigators noticed a second man, 42-year-old Timothy Wayne Burt, strolling up from the isolated desert location.
He first reported that he witnessed Nelson’s death and had escaped into the desert, where he had been hiding for the previous twelve hours.
Burt reported that he and Nelson arrived at the property at 2:00 a.m. to retrieve a trailer that had been stolen from him.
Burt claimed that when they got on the site, they were met by McGuire, who began discharging a handgun at them.
According to investigators, parts of Burt’s account were continuously changing, such as his denying having a pistol and a mobile phone on him during the incident.
He was then charged with Hindering Prosecution and put into the Mohave County Adult Detention Facility, with further charges pending.
On the same day, a search warrant was served on the Golden Valley property, which was known to be occupied by McGuire and his girlfriend, Samantha Branek, 32, of Kingman, Arizona.
During the execution of the search warrant, evidence relating to the murders of Retta Atkins and Darren VanHouten in June 2022 was discovered. Branek was also seen on tape earlier that day pawning evidence from the crime.
On Thursday, Branek and a second woman, Brittany Conkling, 23, were photographed at a truck stop in Yucca, Arizona, purchasing many sandwiches and drinks. After that, their car was observed driving towards a distant desert region east of Yucca.
Authorities attempted to stop Branek’s car near Yucca Friday afternoon before she sped to speeds of more than 80 miles per hour, resulting in a 35-mile vehicle pursuit.
The automobile subsequently skidded off the road, becoming damaged, and all three persons inside fled into the desolate desert area, which was densely forested with trees and bushes.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) chopper arrived on scene and was able to give ground troops with the suspect’s position.
Conkling hid apart from Branek and McGuire and ultimately surrendered to authorities without incident.
Branek and McGuire sought to hide behind a huge tree and remained there for nearly four hours as police tried to negotiate with them and conducted overhead surveillance on them with no reaction.
The Lake Havasu City Police Department SWAT squad later discovered the two dead next each other.
McGuire and Branek both had a single gunshot wound to the head, McGuire’s self-inflicted and the rifle resting on his chest. It’s unclear if McGuire shot Branek or herself.
McGuire was also seen wearing a wig when he was apprehended.
More evidence relating to the murders of Atkins and VanHouten was also discovered at the location.
Conkling then confessed knowing McGuire was sought for murder and assisting and assisting him in the concealment of evidence.
She also informed officials that the trio had stocked up on food and water before camping in the isolated desert location.
Conkling was put into the Mohave County Adult Detention Facility on a class 5 felony charge of Hindering Prosecution.
Branek’s previous mugshot or photo was not immediately given.
According to the MCSO, no bullets were fired by law enforcement during the arrest, and the investigation into more deaths linked to McGuire will continue.
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