Alan Sylwester. (Henderson Police Department)

Alan Sylwester. (Henderson Police Department)

HENDERSON (FOX5) -- A Henderson man was arrested after his wife's suspicious death was ruled homicide. During the investigation, investigators noted similarities with his last wife's death years earlier.

Alan Sylwester, 62, was arrested on May 5 after Karen Byer's death was ruled a homicide by the Clark County Coroner's Office. 

According to court records, Sylwester called police to his home on the 100 block of Caminito Amore on March 4 and said his wife was unresponsive. Officers arrived and she was declared dead at the scene.

When officers talked to Sylwester, he told them he knew Byer since they were in fourth grade, then reconnected in 2018. They started dating in July, then were married in Oct. 2018.

He said Byer was diagnosed with Lymphoma in August, and had a PET scan scheduled for this month to determine if she was in remission. He said he also suffered from arthritis. 

He also told officers that Byer had fallen one or two days before her death and complained that her leg and elbows hurt. 

Officers found Byer on the bedroom floor, Sylwester's arrest report stated. He said he moved her there to perform CPR. Officers observed bruises on her wrist and elbow. 

An investigator with the coroner's office followed up on her injuries, and in the process, spoke with a friend of the couple who said they were "off" but couldn't elaborate why. She told the investigator that Sylwester told her he wanted his marriage dissolved because Byer was obsessive.

The friend also told the investigator about Sylwester's last wife, Lauren Rhea Gilliom, who died in March 2011 in Livermore, California. The investigator stated in their report that Gilliom's death was suspicious.

According to her obituary, Gilliom died at 52, and was married to Sylwester for 27 years with two kids. 

Sylwester was not charged in her death.

The next day, the coroner's office noted that Byer was covered in bruises and had spots of petechia, consistent with asphyxiation by smothering. 

Officers spoke with Sylwester that same day, March 5, who explained the injuries by saying he and the victim used handcuffs during sex. However when asked to be specific, Sylwester couldn't explain, police said. 

He said that one handcuff was applied to both him and the victim during intercourse, but police said he had no bruises and it didn't explain bruises on both of Byer's wrists. 

An officer compared Byer's injuries and the details of her case to Gilliom's, and said both deaths had similarities. 

The officer noted photos from both investigations included items on the night stands such as handcuffs and lubricant. In addition, the arrest report noted that both women were found nude. 

On May 5, the coroner ruled Byer's death a homicide, and Sylwester was arrested on one count of murder. 

Sylwester was expected in court on May 22. 

Gilliom's obituary said she liked to travel to Hawaii with her family and loved the arts. She was involved in her community, including the Livermore Rotary and an organization to promote science and technology education for girls. 

Police in Livermore confirmed that detectives were reopening the case into Gilliom's death in light of the Henderson investigation.  

Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved

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