Couple Suspected In Multi-State Murder Spree Found Dead

Following a high-speed police chase and a four-hour standoff, police found the bodies of a couple sought in connection with four murders across two states last week.

On Friday, Hunter McGuire, 26, was found lying beside Samantha Branek, 32, with a rifle on his chest.

Mohave County Sheriff’s Department officials said McGuire appeared to have shot himself. However, it was unclear if Branek’s injury was self-inflicted.

Officials sought the couple in connection with the June 28 double murder of Retta Atkins, 73, known locally as the “Gold Lady,” and Darren VanHouten, 50, at her Kingman, Arizona, home.

In Golden Valley, Atkins owned the Gold Lady store, which sold prospecting equipment.

They fled to Las Vegas, where McGuire allegedly fatally shot a woman he was staying with Oct. 17 after a dispute, local authorities reported.

Las Vegas police said Branek was caught on surveillance video pawning the slain victim’s valuables the same day.

Police issued an arrest warrant and described McGuire as “armed and dangerous” on a wanted poster, advising people not to approach and call 911.

Less than two days later, another body was found in the wake of the modern-day Bonnie and Clyde.

The Golden Valley Sheriff’s Department responded to a call of a possible homicide near S. Centennial Road and W. Geronimo Drive.

On the property, they found Martin Eric Nelson Jr., 35, lying with a gunshot wound to the head.

Timothy Wayne Burt, 42, strolled up to the house while detectives processed the crime scene, saying he was there when Nelson was shot and had been hiding nearby for 12 hours.

In his account, Burt and Nelson showed up at 2 a.m. to retrieve a trailer that had been stolen from him. When they arrived, McGuire opened fire.

Police said Burt changed his story repeatedly, including denying having a gun, then admitting he had returned fire. He denied having a phone, then claimed to have used it.

As a result, he was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice.

A deputy in a patrol car spotted Branek’s silver Hyundai Elantra on Alamo Road in Yucca two days later, but when he pulled up behind it, the driver sped away.

For 35 miles, the police chased the speeding vehicle until it slid off the road, and Branek, McGuire, and a woman, later identified as 23-year-old Brittany Conkling, fled into the desert. Conkling surrendered shortly thereafter.

A helicopter located Branek and McGuire, and the Lake Havasu City Police Department SWAT team stormed into the desert after four hours of stalled negotiations and found them dead.

Authorities said McGuire is involved in at least two other murder investigations.

John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.