A 22-year-old man will be charged with two counts of murder in the Martinez family slayings and two counts of sexual assault, Las Vegas police announced at a late-night news conference Friday, confirming an earlier Review-Journal report.
"He figured out a way to get in. He did it unbeknownst to that family. And he victimized that family like nothing anybody's ever seen," an emotional Las Vegas police Lt. Ray Steiber said.
Bryan Clay was arrested early Friday morning and interviewed by homicide detectives. He was initially booked into jail on an unrelated felony child abuse warrant from an incident in March, but Steiber said police suspected his involvement in the brutal slayings and sex assaults.
His arrest came after a furious two-week police investigation that saw up to 60 people at a time working the case around the clock.
"With a predator out there like that, we wanted to ensure that our community is the safest community in America," he said. "That's how important it was to our agency to represent our community, to keep our community safe. ... We were not going to, for one minute, for one minute, stop with this investigation."
Steiber didn't say how they caught Clay, but a source close to the investigation said DNA linked the slayings at the Martinez family house on 1016 Robin St. to the sexual assault of a 50-year-old woman near Tonopah and Vegas drives the same day, on April 15.
Steiber confirmed that Clay faces charges in the assault.
Clay's grandmother, Margaret Brown, told the Review-Journal that Clay was arrested at her daughter's house early Friday morning.
Brown said detectives told her daughter that Clay was suspected in a murder upon his arrest.
"I called her this morning, she was crying, and she said they had picked him up from the house and were trying to tie him in on a murder," Brown said.
Clay was initially suspected of a third sex crime, which happened Monday when a 30-year-old woman was attacked near Rancho Drive and Bonanza Road, the source said. The woman was hit in the head with an object but was able to fight off the man, police said. There was no DNA evidence in that case, and Steiber said there is no evidence to link Clay to the crime.
Clay, who was not registered in Nevada or national sex offender databases, was first identified by police as a suspect in the assault of the 50-year-old woman and later linked to the Martinez family slayings, the source said.
Since April 16, Las Vegas police have been investigating the killings of 38-year-old Ignacia "Yadira" Martinez and her 10-year-old daughter, Karla Martinez.
Sources told the Review-Journal last week that Karla had been raped. The family patriarch, Arturo Martinez, was severely beaten in the grisly attack and has not recovered. Steiber confirmed an earlier Review-Journal report that a claw hammer was the murder weapon.
The family's two sons, ages 4 and 9, weren't harmed. The crime came to light April 16 when the 9-year-old told school officials his mother and sister were dead at home.
"I've been doing this 24 years, and this is the case you hope you never see," Steiber said. "This is the kind of case that goes on that they write movies about. And I don't say that as to be an entertainment factor. I'm saying this was a savage, heinous crime."
Sergio Valladares, Arturo Martinez's cousin in Mexico, said the family was grateful a suspect is in custody.
"This is very good news," Valladares said. "They (the family) have been very worried because they don't know anything. They're scared of the situation so they can't sleep."
Martinez is the oldest of the children on Valladares' mother's side of the family and is respected and admired by his younger cousins, he said.
"We were very close when we were children," Valladares said. "If you know all the family we are with, we never are bad to anyone. The family would never think of doing evil to anyone. This is shocking to us."
Valladares, 35, said his cousin was born in Puebla, Mexico, and moved to Nevada about 15 years ago in search of better opportunities.
He confirmed that Martinez was still unable to speak to family or detectives, although he is improving.
"His brother came from Mexico to be with him," he said. "He is saying Arturo is recovering, but very slow. We have to wait to see what is the final damage."
Martinez's sons were doing OK, Valladares said, although he hasn't spoken to them.
The boys were staying with Ignacia Martinez's family as their father recovered, he said.
Cynthia Lazos, a Martinez family friend, said she was ecstatic a suspect was in custody.
"I hope this eases the family's pain," Lazos said.
Lazos and other friends of the Martinez family will hold a fundraiser at 9 a.m. today at the Real KO Boxing Club, 3240 Civic Center Drive, in North Las Vegas.
Clay attended Cunningham Elementary School and Desert Rose High School, according to the Clark County School District.
According to Las Vegas police reports, he has two recent documented cases of violence against a teenage girl who was pregnant with his child.
The first incident occurred Feb. 14. A delivery driver told police he saw Clay hitting his 16-year-old girlfriend in the area of Carey Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. He ran from police, the report said.
When an officer spoke with Clay's girlfriend, she said the two argued and then Clay hit her on the right side of her face.
A month later, on March 15, Clay got into another fight with his girlfriend on East Twain Avenue.
A report said the teenager told police she was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. She told an officer she broke up with Clay, which infuriated him.
"Clay then grabbed her around the neck with his right hand. Clay then began to punch (her). He pulled her hair," the report said.
A neighbor heard the girl's screams and called police.
Clay fled on foot and took the girl's purse.
Brown, Clay's grandmother, said she didn't believe her grandson could be guilty of rape or murder.
"I can't see it or imagine it in a million years," she said. "The only way they'll make me believe that is if they prove it, and it's always innocent until proven guilty."
Brown said Clay lived with various friends in the valley and was angry he couldn't find a job. Brown wouldn't let her grandson live with her, although she found him respectful, because he wasn't working.
"I wanted him to be a man, to stand up on his own and get out from under his mama's skirt," Brown said.
Clay's mother, who identified herself only as Latasha, told the Review-Journal that her son came home Thursday night and asked to stay with her, which was not normal.
"We don't even talk; he don't stay with me," Latasha said.
She said that she didn't know why Clay stayed with her and that she fed him and gave him a place to sleep.
"This is shocking to me; I don't even know what's going on. I don't know nothing."
Review-Journal reporters Brian Haynes, Francis McCabe, Trevon Milliard and Lawrence Mower contributed to this report. Contact Mike Blasky at email@example.com or 702-383-0283. Contact Antonio Planas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4638.