Man arrested in Philippines on Las Vegas murder charges

Hugh Cave’s string of lies began when he told family and friends his wife had died in a car accident, according to Las Vegas police.

The decomposing body of Gloria Cave was found on April 23, buried in a shallow grave beneath a planter in the backyard of a central valley home he owns.

Hugh Cave’s Metropolitan Police Department arrest report, obtained Thursday, said the 53-year-old man had told his wife’s family in the Philippines that she was killed in a car accident in Las Vegas. His wife’s friends and co-workers in Las Vegas got a flipped version of the story: Cave told them she had died in a car accident in the Philippines.

Cave’s fabrications about his wife’s death kept him off law enforcement’s radar for months, but police announced Thursday that he had been arrested by the FBI in the Philippines. He will be extradited to Las Vegas and faces a murder charge.

HUMAN REMAINS FOUND

Police accuse Cave of killing his 45-year-old wife and then burying her in the backyard at 1301 Gold Ave., near Vegas Drive and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Detectives began their investigation when the resident renting the home from Cave found the human remains while doing yardwork with a neighbor.

According to the arrest report, Gloria Cave’s body was highly decomposed. Her face was unrecognizable. Investigators were able to identify the tattooed eyebrows that the victim was known to have.

"The body was covered in a tan-colored plastic, a white tarp, and some sort of additional fabric," the report said. "Lime was spread out over and around the body in layers. The body was tied on the outside with a quarter-inch, yellow nylon rope. The rope around the upper torso had what appeared to be the handle of a hammer through it as a makeshift handle. The same type of rope was wrapped around the bundle at least three other times at the waist, hips and lower legs."

The report said a doctor who examined Gloria Cave’s body did not find any signs of trauma. The Clark County coroner’s office had not released a cause and manner of death as of Thursday.

On Hugh Cave’s Facebook page, he describes himself as a widower searching for a partner. He wrote: "looking to end the pain, and find someone whom i can share my life with once again. All i want is, ‘Forever’. :)" His favorite quote is, "Anything worth doing, is worth doing Right," his account said.

According to the report, police have not pinned down exactly when Gloria Cave was killed. A neighbor told police that Hugh Cave had approached him in late December or early January and asked whether he had heard Gloria Cave yelling the previous night.

The neighbor told police that Hugh Cave said his wife was watching a Filipino talk show, and she "went crazy" and started yelling at the television.

The neighbor told police he last remembered seeing Gloria Cave last year on Thanksgiving. The arrest report said Hugh Cave had sold his home earlier this year, but Clark County records show the home is still owned by Hugh Cave.

GOING TO THE PHILIPPINES

One tenant at Cave’s Gold Avenue home told police she drove him to the airport on Feb. 7. She said Cave had two cardboard boxes with an address in the Philippines written on the outside.

The female tenant told police she received an email from Cave on April 11 that said his wife had been killed in a car crash in Manila, capital of the Philippines. The email said Cave didn’t tell the tenant about the death sooner because it had weighed heavily on his mind.

"I did not want to go through all the ‘We’re sorry for you,’ and ‘What happened?’ and all, over and over again.’ "

The report said the email indicated that Cave might change his address and cell phone and return to Las Vegas.

Homicide detectives also interviewed an employee associated with the medical companies where Gloria Cave worked as a nursing assistant.

On April 27, one co-worker told police that Gloria Cave had been chosen as the nursing assistant of the year and was to have gotten the award at a December office party.

But on Dec. 16, two days before the ceremony, Gloria Cave’s bosses received a faxed letter that said her brother in the Philippines was ill and that she had to leave that morning to be with him. The letter said Cave’s husband would handle her affairs. The letter was signed Gloria L. Cave, but the employee said it did not look like her signature. The letter said Cave probably would not return to work.

The employee told police that company records showed Cave last worked on Dec. 15.

A second colleague of Gloria Cave told police that she had been in contact with Cave’s sister through text messages. Cave’s sister told that colleague that Hugh Cave had said his wife died in Las Vegas on Dec. 26.

Cave’s sister also told the colleague that Hugh Cave had arrived in the Philippines with an urn that he said contained his wife’s ashes. Police were unable to locate any record of a car accident involving Gloria Cave, the report said.

COMPASSIONATE AND HARDWORKING

Eugene Agcaoili, an assistant administrator at Spring View Home Health Care, a medical facility where Gloria Cave worked as a nursing assistant, said Thursday that she was a consummate professional.

Agcaoili said Cave worked hard and was picked as nursing assistant of the year because she was compassionate and had a tremendous work ethic.

Agcaoili said his agency, which has about 50 employees, was hit hard twice by Cave’s death. The first time was when they thought she had been killed in a car crash. The second time was when they learned from police that she might have been killed by her husband.

"We had several office staff that literally shed tears when they found out what happened," he said.

Agcaoili said it appeared Hugh Cave took advantage of his wife because she was the family breadwinner.

The report said Cave is retired.

"It takes a person without any kind of remorse" to do what had been done to Gloria Cave, Agcaoili said.

The neighbor present when the body was found under the planter asked not to be identified. He said Thursday night that he never suspected Cave to be capable of killing his wife. He described Cave and his wife as a "loving couple."

The neighbor said he and Cave used to have casual conversations over the fence. Cave invited him over for football and beer, but he said he never accepted because he doesn’t drink and isn’t a fan of the sport.

He said now that Cave has been arrested, he can sleep easy. The discovery of the woman’s remains has haunted him.

"I came across something I never expected to find," he said. "And I damn sure don’t want to ever do that again."

Review-Journal writer Mike Blasky contributed to this report. Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.

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