Third homicide turns up in coroner stats

First responders at the scene of a March 6, 2023, fatal collision south of Gardnerville.

First responders at the scene of a March 6, 2023, fatal collision south of Gardnerville.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

After getting through 2022 with zero homicides, Douglas County deputy coroners worked three in 2023.

The death of 43-year-old Adam Mulkey, 43, in mid-August is still under investigation, according to Sheriff Dan Coverley.

Mulkey’s body was found by a passer-by in the open space at the end of Stephanie Way.

“We have not had any inquiries about it and did not put anything out due to the nature of the investigation,” Coverley said. “There is not, nor was there a threat to the community and all people involved (were) identified early on in the investigation.”

Unattended deaths are investigated as homicides in Nevada.

Two shootings earlier in 2023 account for the other two, including the shooting deaths of South Lake Tahoe resident Omar Reyes Garcia at the main bar of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on March 25 and Dresslerville resident Eric Wyatt Jr. on May 30 in Dresslerville.

On Friday, the Douglas County Board of Health heard the 2023 coroner’s report presented by Sheriff’s Sgt. Justin Fricke.

The number of coroner reports during the year was down to 292, the lowest number since 2019. Deaths are recorded in the county where they occur, so those who die at the major hospitals like Carson Tahoe, Barton or Renown, are recorded there.

The number of hospice deaths in 2023 dropped to 128, which is the lowest number since the coronavirus outbreak began in 2020, when they peaked at 142.

The hospice deaths, where a deputy coroner doesn’t typically respond, and those by natural causes accounted for nearly 87 percent of the deaths dealt with by the Sheriff’s Office last year.

The number of deaths ruled suicide was up to 14, from 12, and didn’t include anyone under the age of 23. All but one used a firearm.

Among the seven investigations still pending is the Dec. 28, 2023, gunshot death in Genoa that was determined to be self-inflicted.

There was only one traffic death handled by the coroner’s office during 2023, a March 6 collision that killed 85-year-old Joyce Chambers. The driver, Ronald David Wilkerson, was on felony probation for driving into the Sportsman’s Warehouse on Jan. 21, 2021, at the time. That probation expired before the investigation in the fatal was complete.

There was a second traffic death at Spooner Junction in July when a driver pulled out in front of a tour bus.


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