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Teen charged with killing father tried to keep concerned family away

Updated June 7, 2021 - 2:37 pm

As Daniel Halseth’s family and friends frantically tried to reach him for days, his daughter sent messages to her grandmother in an effort to keep them away, new court documents show.

“Hey, Sierra, I’m trying to get a hold of your dad, where is he?” Christine Halseth messaged her granddaughter, who is now charged along with her boyfriend in his killing, according to grand jury transcripts made public Monday.

The 16-year-old responded about 20 minutes later: “His phone has been acting up but he’s okay, it should be fixed by tomorrow night, no worries.”

“Thank you so much for getting back to me,” the grandmother responded, adding that his ex-wife Bogdana Halseth, “was really worried. Love you.”

By the middle of the next morning, Christine Halseth still had not heard from her son. She again messaged her granddaughter, asking if Daniel Halseth, a Las Vegas computer technician, had his laptop.

“Sierra, would you please respond? Does your dad have his laptop because we need to hear from him?”

She wanted the father’s friend and landlord, Peggy Newman, to check on him.

The girl later replied to her grandmother: “Got someone to do welfare check. Yes, Peggy is coming over.”

Christine Halseth asked to have her son call her from her granddaughter’s phone.

The girl replied: “Yes. Peggy wants to call him first. He’s in the shower,” ending the message with a smiley face.

But Christine Halseth knew her son was not showering.

“Why are you doing this?” she wrote to her granddaughter. “Why are you doing this?”

Sometime that week, authorities said, the girl and her 18-year-old boyfriend, Aaron Guerrero, had stabbed Daniel Halseth, stuffed the 45-year-old’s body into a sleeping bag and set him on fire. They were indicted late last month on charges of murder, conspiracy, arson, robbery and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department homicide detective Matthew Hocking testified that Halseth’s body, “burned from head to toe,” was found April 9 in the garage of his northwest Las Vegas home, near Durango and Alta drives.

He had been stabbed multiple times.

Bogdana Halseth had received fraud alerts from a bank account she still shared with her ex-husband. Someone had tried to withdraw cash from various ATMs across the valley.

“It doesn’t seem that it’s possible that he knows everybody’s looking for him, and then right after he gets out of the shower he runs to the ATM to get $140 out of his own bank account,” she testified.

Throughout Daniel Halseth’s home, investigators found Home Depot and ATM receipts. Surveillance video from Home Depot showed Guerrero buying saws and gloves that were later found inside the Halseth home, prosecutors said, while ATM surveillance video showed Sierra Halseth using her father’s debit cards.

Sierra Halseth and Guerrero dated from June to December but were kept from seeing each other after their parents learned they had planned to run away to Los Angeles, according to court documents.

The day before Daniel Halseth’s body was found, Guerrero ran away from home and the teenagers purchased a circular saw, saw blades, bleach, lighter fluid, disposable gloves and drop cloth from stores near the victim’s home, according to the transcripts.

The girl and Guerrero were apprehended by the Salt Lake City Transit Authority after buying a train ticket.

Investigators confiscated her phone, on which the couple had recorded a video.

“Welcome back to our YouTube channel, three days after murdering somebody,” Guerrero said on the video, according to Hocking’s testimony.

“Whoa!” Sierra Halseth said. “Don’t say that on camera.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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