Merlin death may be starvation

MOUND HOUSE - A Lyon County investigator said Wednesday starvation appears to be the likely cause of death for "alien" lobbyist David Solomon, whose decomposing body was found behind brothels in Mound House on July 13.

"When we talked to his mother, she made statements that he was starving himself to death," said Sgt. John Arndell, who is in charge of investigations for Lyon County.

Solomon was known as Ambassador Merlyn Merlin II and was a familiar figure at the Nevada Legislature between 1995 and 1999, when he was a registered lobbyist who claimed to represent space aliens. He campaigned for Nevada's "Extraterrestrial Highway."

Arndell said the investigation will remain open until all loose ends are tied up. Investigators are trying to determine who took Solomon's car and abandoned it at a Carson City auto shop last week.

"We don't believe whoever took the car was involved in (Solomon's) death," he said.

Arndell said witnesses reported seeing Solomon's 1973 Monte Carlo on July 4 with its doors open.

"The car was there up until at least the Fourth of July and he had been dead since sometime in mid-June," Arndell said. " Witnesses said the doors were open, the trunk was open, the hood was open and his UFO and alien stuff was scattered from hell to breakfast."

Arndell said the likely scenario was another transient may have stumbled upon the car and not noticed Solomon's body, which was down a hillside in the brush 150 feet from the car.

"We believe someone saw that car down there with everything scattered around. That guy opens the hood, sees an operating engine and drives the car away," Arndell said, adding it would be impossible to prove the crime of car theft since that area is where many cars have been abandoned.

"So the person with the car sees the press on it and says, 'Uh, oh,' and dumps the car," he said.

Arndell said a complete crime scene search of the car came up empty-handed.

"There was no suicide note, no biological evidence, no blood or anything like that." He said the condition of the car was "such a mess. There were papers everywhere, a greasy film covered everything making it virtually impossible to pick up a fingerprint."

Investigators also searched an office Solomon kept at the Masonic Lodge on Carson Street.

Arndell said numerous articles about toxic food were found there.

"He had articles that said how you could live on the nutrients from the air and water," he said.

Arndell said a woman familiar with Solomon from the lodge said she last saw him in June and he looked sickly and was not his normal talkative self.

Arndell said until the person who had Solomon's car is interviewed, the case will remain open.

"The cause of death is undetermined. But there's absolutely no signs of trauma on (Solomon's) trunk or the head, nothing. Still, we would like to talk to the guy that had the car," he said


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