The Sheriff’s Office said an arrest warrant was issued against McGuire and Branek, and a search for the suspects began.
McGuire was reportedly hiding in Las Vegas because of his alleged involvement with another murder that took place June 28 in Kingman. He was accused of killing Retta Atkins, also known as the "Gold Lady," and her male companion, Darren VanHouten.
On Wednesday, Oct. 19, at around 1:44 p.m., deputies responded to a home near Centennial Road and Geronimo Drive in Golden Valley, Arizona, to a report of a possible homicide, the Sheriff’s Office said. At the scene, deputies reportedly found a deceased man behind a vehicle, later identified as Martin Eric Nelson Jr., 35. The Sheriff’s Office said he had suffered an apparent gunshot wound.
During a search of the remote Arizona desert area, authorities met with Timothy Burt, 42, who told them he witnessed Nelson’s death and fled into the desert, where he had been hiding for 12 hours, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Burt told authorities he and Nelson had come to the property at approximately 2 a.m. to pick up a trailer that was allegedly stolen from him, but when they arrived on the property, Burt and Nelson were confronted by McGuire, who began using a firearm to shoot toward them.
Burt’s statements were reportedly inconsistent, and according to the Sheriff’s Office, he initially denied having a firearm and cellphone, but he later said he called a girlfriend to pick him up and that he threw his firearm somewhere in a wash.
Eventually, the Sheriff’s Office said Burt was booked into the Mohave County Adult Detention Facility for hindering prosecution. Additional charges are pending.
Authorities searched a property in Golden Valley, previously occupied by McGuire and Branek, and they found evidence connected to the murder of Atkins and VanHouten from June 2022, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Branek and another woman, Brittany Conkling, 23, also of Kingman, were reportedly at a truck stop in Yucca, Arizona, on Thursday, Oct. 20, and they drove toward a remote desert area.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, on Friday, Oct. 21, at around 12:37 p.m., the vehicle went over 80 miles per hour and a vehicle pursuit ensued, but the vehicle slid off the road. Three people reportedly fled the vehicle and ran into the remote desert area.
Using a helicopter from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, authorities were able to find the trio, and one of them was McGuire, the Sheriff’s Office said. McGuire was reportedly carrying a rifle. Branek and McGuire went underneath a large tree, while Conkling reportedly hid in a separate location, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Eventually, Conkling reportedly surrendered.
After a four-hour search, authorities found McGuire and Branek deceased, the Sheriff’s Office said. They each had suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, and investigators believe McGuire shot himself. It is unknown whether Branek’s gunshot wound was self-inflicted or if McGuire shot her.
The Sheriff’s Office said evidence was also recovered from the scene related to the deaths of Atkins and VanHouten.
During an interview, Conkling reportedly confessed to aiding McGuire in murder and trying to hide evidence. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the trio planned to camp out in the desert and hide. Conkling was arrested and booked into the Mohave County Adult Detention Facility for hindering prosecution, the Sheriff’s Office said.