LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The sign leading to Six Mile Cove proved prophetic for two Las Vegans out for a day at the beach on Lake Mohave, a few miles east of Searchlight.
The cove is a bit out of the way, known mostly to locals and to windsurfers.
Leo Cardenas and his girlfriend Rosa Castrejon drove from Las Vegas to try out Leo’s new metal detector on October 24th, 2011, a time of year when few campers use the beach.
As Leo and Rosa scoured the sand, they came closer to a lone camper on the south side of the beach. And something set him off.
“As they got a little bit closer to where he was camping along the shoreline of the lake, he walked up and shot both of them, killing one right there and seriously wounding and paralyzing the other,” said Detective Ken Hefner who works in Metro’s cold case homicide division.
Rosa was shot in the head and died on the spot. Leo somehow got back on his feet and was shot again but was still alive.
Detectives say the suspect walked back to his truck, grabbed a knife, and returned to stab Cardenas multiple times.
Amazingly, he was still alive and survived a long, terrible night lying next to the body of his loved one. The next morning, a visitor at the beach came across the carnage and called authorities.
Metro’s cold case team says the attack was unprovoked.
“Totally innocent, not engaged in any risky behavior. By all accounts they were pretty humble, hardworking people and they were out there minding their own business,” says Det. Hefner
Cardenas survived but lost the use of his legs. He’s since moved to Mexico.
Detectives don’t know if the attack was a hate crime, unleashed on victims who were both Hispanic.
The description of the killer as of 2011, describes him as a large man, over 6 feet tall, and 200 pounds, muscle-bound, in his late ’40s to early ’50s.
They speculate he might be a loner with a short fuse and a violent past who is familiar with the area. His vehicle at the time was a tan or gold Jeep Cherokee.
At the scene, police collected tire tracks, boot prints, and DNA, but they have yet to find a match in any DNA database.
This case is solvable, police say. What’s needed is either a future DNA match or, for someone in the public to focus on the clues …And make the connection to an angry loner who looked like this 10 years ago.
“Somebody might see the composite, the artist rendition of the suspect, couple that with the vehicle type and description in 2011 and give us a call. If you’re wrong, we’ll figure it out,” added Det. Hefner.