Investigators: Man responsible for murder spree spanning 2 states

Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 7:46 AM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A string of murders spanning two states were all committed by one man, according to investigators.

His deadly rampage started in June in Kingman, claimed a life in Las Vegas, and came to a violent end in October in a remote area of Arizona wilderness. FOX5 traveled from Las Vegas to Mohave County to retrace his steps and the devastation left behind.

“In my 26 years in law enforcement, I’ve never run into somebody that was this violent,” shared Mohave County Sgt. David Coffin.

Hunter McGuire was no stranger to law enforcement in Kingman. He was arrested and booked into jail more than a dozen times in recent years, but mostly for petty crimes.

Detective Michael Angelo believes drugs and a need to get money to feed his addiction set McGuire on a deadly path. Detectives say that in four months he took five, possibly six lives before taking his own.

“Fentanyl may have been a big factor. Talking to people who knew Hunter McGuire, it sounds like this wasn’t how he always was… I believe it does change a person from something that they were known as to something that people don’t even recognize,” Angelo contended.

June 28, at a home on stretch of private road in Kingman, an unthinkable crime rocked the small, quiet town. The “Gold Lady” known for her gold shop in town, was found murdered in her own home in what investigators say was a burglary gone wrong.

Retta Atkins and her companion, Darren VanHouten, beloved members of the community, were found shot to death. Jeff Williams, a YouTuber famous for searching for gold and treasure, made a tribute video to his slain friends.

“They would help anybody, and they always have… They were very good people, and they did not deserve this in the least,” Williams said.

A security camera captured an image of the culprit on the night of the murder. Mohave County investigators named McGuire a suspect. Detectives now know McGuire fled to Las Vegas to hide out and asked Georgia Sherman, a childhood friend, to stay at her home on Craigmont Avenue, near Jones and Harmon.

“Him and my sister were really good friends. She never, never thought he’d do anything to hurt her,” explained Georgia’s sister Angelina Hicks. Hicks claims they didn’t know McGuire was a wanted man linked to the murders in Kingman but on October 17 when they found out they asked him to leave. Hicks reported that is when McGuire shot and killed her sister. Investigators say McGuire fled back to Kingman where he would murder again less than 48 later.

On October 19, a man named Martin Nelson was found shot to death in a truck at an isolated, secluded property in Golden Valley. Investigators say McGuire was squatting there using the location as a hid out even building a makeshift bunker. Mohave County detectives think Nelson and a friend were trying to get back a trailer McGuire had stolen from them and were ambushed.

Detectives believe another murder happened less than a mile down the road. They uncovered a body in a shallow grave. Joshua Blake’s family reported him missing in August. Investigators believe that is when he was killed by McGuire and an accomplice Michael Blaine Turner Junior. Blake’s children shared he was a great dad.

Turner was living in Blake’s home and investigators believe they argued about non-payment of rent before he disappeared. Investigators say after Blake’s murder, Turner drove his car and even attempted to notarize a bill of sale of his home.

On October 21, Sgt. Coffin tried to pull over a car he believed McGuire was driving in the remote area of Yucca. The driver gunned it. The chase lasted for 35 miles.

“We were reaching speeds of 80 miles per hour on a dirt backroad at some points. We didn’t have any radio communication with our dispatch,” Coffin recounted.

Hunter’s girlfriend and ex-girlfriend, Samantha Branek and Brittany Conkling, jumped from the moving car according to deputies. McGuire then stopped the vehicle and ran to hid in the brush with Branek.

“While they are under the tree, they’re ingesting illegal narcotics to including methamphetamines and possible fentanyl,” Coffin revealed. After a 4-hour standoff, deputies found both McGuire and his girlfriend dead.

“Samantha Branek was found in the area of Hunter McGuire with a gunshot wound as well… at this point we don’t know if she took her own life or if Hunter did,” Angelo revealed.

With McGuire’s death, his reign of terror is over, but the five, possibly six, lives he took cannot be replaced and will not soon be forgotten.