A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following a homicide investigation into his girlfriend’s reported suicide, Las Vegas police said.
Officers responded about 6:20 p.m. Monday to 2200 W. Bonanza Road, near North Rancho Drive, on reports of a woman who may have died by suicide, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. David Gordon said at the time. Homicide detectives took over the investigation because of suspicious aspects of the case.
The Clark County coroner’s office on Wednesday named Las Vegas resident Savannah Millner, 24, as the woman. Her cause and manner of death was still pending Wednesday afternoon.
According to a Metro release sent Thursday afternoon, 25-year-old Steven Clifford was booked Wednesday on suspicion of one charge of open murder in his girlfriend’s death. Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said in a text Wednesday evening that the man’s last name was Kyle, which is Clifford’s middle name, Spencer clarified Thursday.
Millner’s mother, Debra Meola, told the Review-Journal Wednesday morning that Millner’s boyfriend was named Steven Kyle.
Spencer said Wednesday that Clifford had recently been arrested in connection with a charge unrelated to Millner’s death, but he gave police a false name. He remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Thursday without bail, court records show.
Meola, 52, said the coroner’s office had told her it appeared Millner had been shot in the neck. Meola said Wednesday morning that she believes Clifford, who Millner had known since middle school, was involved in her daughter’s death.
Millner’s mother could not be immediately reached Wednesday evening following news of Clifford’s arrest.
Meola described her daughter as a smart, caring woman who often spent hours reading “a lot of dark books” and medieval fantasy books. The 24-year-old battled mental illness and drug addiction most of her life and checked in and out of various rehabilitation facilities over the years, she said.
“You would never think there was anything wrong because she always had a smile on her face,” Meola said.
By age 12, Millner was using marijuana and taking pills, and by 15, she was “a heroin addict like her father,” Meola said. Millner’s father wasn’t around much growing up, and he overdosed on March 20, 2017, her birthday, and died two days later, she said.
“She had a lot of trauma for such a young person, and I guess she just couldn’t fight it,” Meola said.
The mother and daughter opened their home up to Millner’s friends growing up. Some of her friends had issues at their own homes and needed a place to stay.
Millner would say, “Please, mom,” and, Meola said, she would reply, “OK, Savannah, another one?”
“We always had kids at the house,” Meola said.
One day, she remembered, Millner surprised her by saying she was bringing home “Bella.”
And who is Bella?
“It’s the dog I’m bringing home,” Millner replied.
She rescued the pit bull, now 3, and the two became “attached at the hip,” Meola said. The dog was anxious, like Millner, but they helped each other, she said.
“She loved that dog like it was her child,” Meola said.
Meola said Wednesday morning that she doesn’t know much about Clifford’s life, but she wants to know what happened to her daughter.
“I just want answers,” she said.
A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Steven Clifford.
Contact Mike Shoro at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Katelyn Newberg contributed to this report.