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North Las Vegas police: Man accused of butchering sister, mother may have used chainsaw


A family friend told Natasha Sorrells she should be afraid of her brother.

But Sorrells said she loved him too much to be afraid of him. She just wanted to help Darius Sorrells.

Maybe she should have been afraid.

Police say Darius Sorrells slayed his sister and their mother, Janice Burden, in the North Las Vegas home they shared. Police reports released Wednesday detailed the gruesome crime scene and shed some light on how investigators found evidence leading to Darius Sorrells’ arrest.

As North Las Vegas police officers entered Natasha Sorrells’ home on Monday a dark substance stuck to the soles of their shoes.

Blood and decaying flesh was all over the floor of the home at 6120 Stibor Street, near Lamb Boulevard and Tropical Parkway.

Pieces of bloodied carpet were cut up and put in plastic bags. Furniture was upended. Two black vinyl gloves were on the floor.

There was a green wheel barrow next to the fireplace.

A disassembled Poulan brand chainsaw was found in the kitchen. Numerous knives and screwdrivers were found in a pot on the stove. More knives were found in a white plastic container filled with water.

The house stunk of incense.

In the living room was a body “wrapped like a mummy” in eight inches of plastic and blue painters tape.

Blood splatter and bloody hand-prints were found in the first-floor bathroom. The bathtub was completely sealed with blue painters tape.

The tape masked a second body. The legs had been cut off and were found in the freezer wrapped in plastic. The body had two “ragged cuts running along either side of the spinal column.”

The bodies were those of Natasha Sorrells, 34, and Janice Burden, 53. The two women had been missing since last week.

And the Clark County Coroner’s Office said Wednesday Natasha Sorrells died of blunt force head trauma. Medical examiners had not, as of late Wednesday, officially identified the other body as Janice Burden, but the evidence points in that direction.

Detectives believe the killings probably occurred a week ago, but the bodies were not discovered until Monday, even though officers made several checks to the home last weekend.

A family friend had kicked in the back door with permission from Burden’s other son and found the home in disarray, the police reports said.

Police later entered the home because the broken back door gave them legal cause to go in the home without a warrant. They spent more than 14 hours investigating.

As happens in many homicide investigations in the valley, evidence led detectives to a hardware store.

Detectives found a Lowes receipt for a chainsaw and earplugs dated March 28. A check of the store’s video surveillance found a man “strongly resembling” Darius Sorrells exiting the store with a chainsaw.

At the crime scene, detectives found the disassembled chainsaw had recently been cleaned, however, a crime scene analyst’s test for blood came back positive. It’s unclear if the chainsaw was used to kill one of the women or only to dismember the body.

A mop and cleaning products were also found, and it appeared that an attempt had been made to clean up the blood that was everywhere in the home.

Police say Darrius Sorrells stayed in the house while the bodies decomposed.

A family friend, who reported the two women missing after they didn’t call or show up to work, told police that Natasha Sorrells had recently awoken to find her brother standing over her with a crow bar.

Next, detectives went to talk with Darius Sorrells. He had been in custody since Saturday when he was arrested on separate drunken driving charges while evading police in his mother’s GMC Envoy.

He told detectives he had memory loss of “every event before his arrest.”

He then said he didn’t want to talk anymore.

A detective told him he was under arrest for the murder of his mother and sister. “He showed no reaction,” a police report said.

On Wednesday, Darius Sorrells, 30, made a brief court appearance via video before North Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Kalani Hoo, court records show.

The case was delayed until April 9 to allow Clark County prosecutors time to review the evidence and submit a formal criminal complaint.

Darius Sorrells remains in custody without bail.

Meanwhile, the motive for the killing remains unknown. Neighbors and relatives of the dead women told police that Darius Sorrells was mentally unstable.

One neighbor described him to police. “She said that Darius is ‘not all there.’”

Review-Journal reporter Mike Blasky contributed to this report. Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @fjmccabe

 

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