Chamber honors investigators for solving Ranchos shootings
The hunt for the person responsible for the murders of two Gardnerville Ranchos women in their homes within days and less than a mile of one another was one of the most significant investigations in Douglas County.
On Saturday, investigators who tracked down an accused multiple murderer were honored by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Sheriff’s Capt. Dan Britton and investigators Brandon Williamson and Ryan Young received awards from the chamber for their works.
“It was four days into my term, and if I were to tell you I didn’t feel some pressure, I would be lying to you,” Sheriff Dan Coverley said. “But I had so much faith in these three guys, that although I worried and asked a lot of questions, I never felt we weren’t going to figure this out.”
Williamson and Young were new to the Investigations Department when the homicides occurred.
Connie Koontz was found shot dead in her James Road home on Jan. 10 while her mother was there. Sophia Renken was found dead in her home on Jan. 13. Both women had been killed with the same gun. But the burglary of Koontz’ home provided a valuable clue when an iWatch taken was activated.
Before investigators were able to locate accused murder Wilbur Guzman-Martinez, Reno couple Gerald and Sharon David were killed on Jan. 16.
“It was a difficult case in the sense that we really did not know who was doing this and there wasn’t a lot of evidence,” Coverley said. “But there was enough to figure out who this individual was.”
Coverley credited Williamson and Young with figuring out the iWatch angle that broke the case.
Young was the case investigator on the Koontz shooting.
“I can remember looking at Ryan one time and saying ‘you guys better find this guy,’ and he looked me right in the eye and calm as could be said ‘We will.’”
Williamson took on the Ranken shooting.
“Brandon is one of those guys you say to yourself, ‘that guy is a lot smarter than I am,’” Coverley said. “These guys coming up, they understand this technology and how to use it to assist us to find people. It was our guys who figured out that piece of evidence and how to use it to figure out where that guy was.”
Coverley said he’s worked with Britton for the entire time he’s been at the sheriff’s office.
“I’ve known Dan my entire career here,” Coverley said. “He started with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office when I was still in high school.”
Coverley called Britton a mentor and a teacher.
“I’m where I’m at in large part due to the things I’ve learned from Dan,” Coverley said. “Without him I don’t know we would have caught this guy in the manner we did. We’re lucky to have him and we owe him a debt we probably can never repay.”
All three honorees are Douglas locals. Britton is a Douglas High School graduate and has served with the sheriff’s office since 1983. Williamson is a 2001 graduate of Douglas High School. Young grew up in Carson Valley has been with the Sheriff’s Office since he was appointed a deputy in 2007.