LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas-area teenager who had been sought in the U.S. and along the Mexican border following the butcher knife slayings of his mother and younger brother was arrested as he sat alone in a food court on the Las Vegas Strip.
An unidentified tipster who recognized Adrian Navarro-Canales from media reports told Henderson police the 16-year-old was at the food court at the Showcase mall, police spokesman Keith Paul said. Navarro-Canales offered no resistance when police approached him at about 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
“He was sitting at a table,” Paul said. “The two detectives walked up to him and took him into custody.”
Navarro-Canales was booked into juvenile detention at the Clark County Detention Center in downtown Las Vegas to await an initial court appearance.
Paul said investigators think Navarro-Canales walked the 9 miles to the Strip from the suburban apartment where the bloody bodies of his mother and brother had been found Friday. They don’t believe he returned to the apartment, and they were still trying to determine where he had been staying.
Navarro-Canales was named as an adult in a warrant issued Monday accusing him of killing Elvira Canales-Gomez, 40, and Cesar Navarro, 9.
Police say the mom was found with multiple stab wounds and a butcher knife in her chest. The boy was stabbed once in the chest and was found in the bathtub.
Police think the killings happened Sept. 17 — sometime after the mom picked up the 9-year-old from school and a day after she, the two boys and Canales-Gomez’s boyfriend, Carlos Rubio-Villanueva, celebrated Navarro-Canales’ 16th birthday.
Navarro-Canales was initially named as a possible victim, not a suspect. The Associated Press typically doesn’t identify minors accused of crimes but is naming Navarro-Canales because of the seriousness of the crime and because he was identified by authorities while they searched for him.
Officers went to the apartment three times last week at the request of Canales-Gomez’s niece and Rubio-Villanueva — once Sept. 18 and twice Thursday — before entering and finding the bodies Friday.
The niece, Ana Martinez, 23, told investigators her cousin didn’t have any friends that she knew of in the Las Vegas area, didn’t like living in the United States and wanted to go back to Mexico. She described Navarro-Canales as anti-social and said he spent most of his time in the apartment playing video games.
The mall, next to the MGM Grand casino-resort, is marked by giant M&M and Coca-Cola displays, several shoe and apparel retailers, and an eight-plex movie theater. It also features a video arcade.
Navarro-Canales was enrolled as a junior at Coronado High School in Henderson but hadn’t attended classes since school began in August, Clark County School District spokeswoman Melinda Malone said.
A police report said the teen’s passport and border documents were found in the apartment off Eastern Avenue and Sunridge Heights Parkway. The mother’s vehicle was found parked outside.
Paul said he didn’t know Navarro-Canales’ nationality.
The teen’s father, Adrian Navarro Soto-Mayor, flew from San Jose, Calif., to Las Vegas and issued a plea last weekend in Spanish for his son to contact him or other family members.
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