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Suspect in brutal Las Vegas sex assault case jailed 6 years later

More than six and a half years after a woman was found lying in bushes outside a Las Vegas business, badly injured and suffering from hypothermia after being sexually assaulted, a suspect has been arrested in the case.

Kelvin Macklin, 33, was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on Dec. 12 after police identified him as a suspect in the assault, according to Macklin’s arrest report. The case was considered inactive from November 2015 to May 2018 because Metropolitan Police Department officers falsely believed it had been submitted to the district attorney’s office, the report showed.

On May 18, Detective Walter Detweiler II was assigned the case after the original investigator, Sgt. Ransom Beza, was promoted from Metro’s sexual assault unit while he was investigating the case, according to Metro records and the arrest report.

Detweiler spoke with Beza’s supervisor, who had notes showing the case had been submitted to the Clark County district attorney’s office after Beza left the unit. The case was therefore not reassigned, according to the report.

Eventually the DA’s office informed Detweiler the case was never submitted, so it was “reopened for further investigation,” according to the report.

A brutal 2012 assault

On Feb. 25, 2012, police received a report of a person laying in landscaping bushes outside of a business. When officers arrived, they found a woman partially covered in dirt, laying in the bushes with her pants pulled down to her knees, the report said. Police also found sperm on the woman’s neck.

The woman was taken to University Medical Center in “possibly life-threatening” condition from numerous injuries and possible hypothermia.

Her injuries included a broken jaw, “significant” trauma to her head and face, and bruises that appeared to be caused by strangulation. The woman had marijuana, amphetamines and alcohol in her system, the report read.

A nurse screened her for sexual assault and said there was “no immediately suspicious evidence,” according to the report.

About a month after she was found, the woman told Beza she remembered going inside the Huntridge Tavern near downtown Las Vegas that night and her friends leaving before her. She didn’t remember leaving the bar or who she left with, according to the report.

It would be almost two years before the sperm found on the woman was submitted for DNA analysis on Jan. 7, 2014, according to the report.

A match was returned on Aug. 4, 2015 — three-and-a-half years after the woman was found — identifying Kelvin Macklin as a suspect.

Police interviewed Macklin on Nov. 4, 2015, the report said. He consented to giving a DNA sample, and told police he “did not attack anyone” and didn’t know the woman. Macklin said he hadn’t had sex with anyone besides the mother of his child, and that “someone had been using his identity for the past few years.”

DNA resubmitted

After Detweiler was assigned the cold case in May of this year — after it was determined the case had not been sent to the DA’s office — he interviewed the woman on July 25. The woman told police she recognized a picture of Macklin but “did not know him personally” and had never spoken with him, the report said.

Detweiler resubmitted DNA for testing, which also showed Macklin as a possible match. He also found prints taken from the crime scene matching Macklin’s right middle finger, according to the report.

Metro’s public information office was closed Monday for the holiday and police could not be reached for comment on the delay in the case.

Macklin has a lengthy criminal record dating to 2009 under Las Vegas and North Las Vegas justice courts, online records show. His past felony charges included domestic battery, robbery, pandering an adult, drug charges and unlawful contact with a child or mentally ill person.

Macklin remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Friday with a $250,000 bail, jail records show. He faces charges of sexual assault in the 2012 case.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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