A Las Vegas man is being held without bond in the brutal bludgeoning deaths of a mother and her daughter in their central valley home.
Police say Bryan Clay, 22, was a total stranger to Ignacia and Arturo Martinez when he broke into their home and attacked them with a hammer on April 15.
Ignacia, 38, and her daughter Karla, 10, were both raped and beaten to death with a claw hammer. The weapon was not recovered.
The attacks left Ignacia’s husband, Arturo, unconscious with traumatic head injuries. He remains in critical condition in an intensive care unit, unable to speak to investigators. Police say the Martinez’s two sons, 9 and 4, were at home at the time of the attacks, but they were uninjured.
“This was a complete stranger killing a mother and daughter and attacking the father,” Lt. Ray Steiber told the Associated Press. “I’ve been doing this (police work) 24 years, and you don’t see cases like this. I can’t even put this into words.”
Clay was initially booked Friday on suspicion of child sexual abuse in an unrelated case. DNA results linked him to the deaths of Ignacia and Karla — and to the rape and assault of a 50-year-old woman earlier that day in the same neighborhood.
The unidentified woman told police she was waiting at an intersection when a man chased her into the nearby desert and viciously beat and raped her. The man left a key piece of evidence behind at the scene of the woman’s attack — his baseball cap which contained DNA.
Police say the two surviving Martinez boys may have remained inside the blood-soaked home for another 24 hours after the attacks on their parents and sister. Police speculate whether the 9-year-old was in shock when he went to school the following morning and told his teachers a bizarre story about his dad killing his mother and sister.
The boy’s allegations led a police spokesman to inform the media — the day the bodies were found — that the public should not be alarmed because there was no reason to believe a killer was free.
But Deputy Chief Jim Owens dismissed reports that Arturo Martinez was connected to the deaths of his wife and daughter.
“We (detectives) haven’t been able to talk to him,” Owens said. “Certainly we don’t have enough yet to consider him a suspect.”
Martinez’s friends say Arturo was a skilled fighter who taught self defense techniques at a nearby boxing center where both he and his wife worked.
“I don’t believe Arturo would put his family in danger,” said 16-year-old Felipe Lazos, who learned to box at a gym Martinez managed.
Ignacia Martinez handled the financial paperwork at the gym. She also knew jiu-jitsu.
Lazos believes the couple was ambushed in their home by another skilled fighter who overpowered them. “They had to be a good fighter,” Lazos said of the suspect.