It had only been a day since Shpresa Hamzaj’s family had heard from her, but they knew something was wrong.
The 27-year-old aspiring model and real estate agent wasn’t returning their phone calls, which was unusual. After failing to contact her all day Saturday, her parents went to her house near Durango Drive and Centennial Parkway that night to investigate.
Their fears were realized: They found the house ransacked and her vehicles missing, according to a Las Vegas police report. The family called police and reported Hamzaj missing.
It didn’t take Las Vegas police detectives long to track down Geoffrey Grove, Hamzaj’s 24-year-old ex-boyfriend. He was sitting in jail, having been arrested on Sunday on charges of possession of cocaine and carrying a concealed weapon.
Detectives went to the jail and interviewed Grove on Monday. The story he told police was gruesome.
Distraught because Hamzaj broke up with him and had returned an engagement ring, Grove and his 23-year-old friend Nicholas Navarrette went to her house Friday night to steal several guns and her 2004 Lincoln Aviator and 2004 Ford Mustang “as revenge,” the police report stated.
Hamzaj, who knew Navarrette, let him into her house on Friday night when he asked to use her bathroom, the report stated.
When Grove entered the house a short time later, he handcuffed Hamzaj behind her back and then the men tied her legs together with the cord of a cell phone charger, the report stated.
The two men then placed a white garbage bag over Hamzaj’s head and strangled her with a dog leash, the report stated.
Afterward, Navarrette and Grove loaded Hamzaj’s body into a vehicle, and Grove drove her into the desert near Grand Teton Drive and Grand Canyon Road in the northwest part of the valley, the report stated.
Grove thought she might still be alive when he dumped her body so he shot her twice in the head with a .38 caliber handgun, according to the report. When Grove returned to Hamzaj’s house, he and Navarrette loaded up her Lincoln with her jewelry and guns and drove it and her Ford to their house near Russell Road and Boulder Highway.
On Monday, as police were interviewing Grove, other officers arrested Navarrette as he was driving from their house. He told police a similar story.
He told police they went to Hamzaj’s house to “rough her up a bit” but “things got out of hand,” according to a police report.
Navarrette admitted to helping Grove with strangling Hamzaj but said he didn’t shoot her, the report stated.
On Tuesday, police went to Grove and Navarrette’s house and found the stolen weapons and the Mustang. Police also found two spent .38 caliber shell casings that were kept in a shot glass in Grove’s bedroom, according to the police report.
That same day, police went to the desert area that Grove described and recovered Hamzaj’s body.
The killing has devastated Hamzaj’s family. Her father, Fatmir “Frank” Hamzaj, said Hamzaj graduated from Bonanza High School and received an English degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She also worked with refugees from Kosovo, he said.
He declined to say much about his daughter, adding, “There is no father in the world who would not say wonderful things about their kids.”