DNA of arrested official found at crime scene of slain journalist, police say
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that the DNA of an arrested official was found at the site of the murder of an investigative reporter.
The Las Vegas-area lawmaker was arrested Wednesday as a suspect in the fatal stabbing of the veteran journalist whose investigations into the public servant’s work preceded his main loss in June.
Clark County Public Administrator Robert “Rob” Telles, a Democrat, was arrested at his home by SWAT officers hours after investigators served a search warrant and confiscated vehicles in connection with the criminal investigation into the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German. .
Las Vegas Sheriff’s Office officials told a news conference Thursday that DNA found at the crime scene matched Telles. Captain Dori Koren said they also found shoes and a distinctive straw hat in his home that matched those of the suspect captured on video. The shoes and the hat had been cut up.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo said there is also “distorted” video that shows the attack, which investigators are trying to improve.
A weapon was not found, but Koren said the investigation is continuing.
Telles, 45, had been at the center of German’s reporting on the unrest, including complaints of administrative intimidation, favoritism and Telles’ relationship with a junior employee at the county office that handles the estates of people who have died without a will. or family contacts.
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Telles was also upset about “additional reports that were pending,” Koren said Thursday.
The newspaper’s editor, Glenn Cook, said in a statement that “Robert Telles’ arrest is both a huge relief and an outrage to the Review-Journal newsroom.”
“We are relieved that Robert Telles is in police custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for whistleblowing an elected official,” Cook said.
Telles did not immediately respond to phone messages from his county office on Wednesday, and it was unclear immediately after his arrest whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. The county administrator’s office was closed.
German joined the Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades at the Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter covering the courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime.
Telles, a lawyer who practiced inheritance and probate law, won his elected post in 2018, replacing a public administrator for three terms. He lost his June party primary to Deputy Public Administrator Rita Reid. Telles’ term expires on December 31.
In the weeks leading up to the election, the German published reports of an office “bogged down in turmoil and internal dissension” between long-serving employees and new hires under Telles.
Telles blamed the “elders” for exaggerating the extent of his relationship with an employee and falsely claiming that he abused them.
“All of my new hires are super happy and everyone is productive and doing well,” he told the newspaper. “We have almost doubled productivity in the office.”
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Telles then posted complaints on Twitter about German, the Review-Journal reported, including claims in June that German was a bully who was “obsessed” with him.
German, a journalist known for his tenacity, was working on follow-up reports, the newspaper said Wednesday, and recently filed public records requests for emails and text messages between Telles and three other county officials, including Reid. and consultant Michael Murphy.
Murphy, the former Clark County coroner hired to handle complaints about leadership in the Office of Public Administrators, did not immediately respond to a phone message.
German’s body was found Saturday morning outside his home. Police said he was apparently killed on Friday and called the attack an isolated incident. The Clark County coroner ruled the German died of “multiple force injuries” and ruled the case a homicide.
After police on Monday asked for the public’s help in identifying a suspect, developments came quickly.
On Tuesday, police showed brief video of a potential suspect walking down a sidewalk dressed in bright orange “construction gear” and handed out a photo of a distinctive red or maroon GMC Yukon Denali SUV with chrome handles, a sunroof and a luggage rack, saying so may have been linked to the case.
Telles was seen in newspaper photos washing a similar vehicle parked in his driveway on Tuesday, and KTNV-TV reported that the vehicle was towed away after police arrived on Wednesday.