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Police probe slayings north of Las Vegas

Two men found shot to death in a wildlife refuge outside Las Vegas were believed to be Phoenix-area residents who had been in possession of a “substantial amount of cash,” authorities said Friday.

Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said there was evidence the two men spent Wednesday night at the MGM Grand resort on the Las Vegas Strip after cashing about $10,000 out of a retirement fund.

Authorities don’t know yet if the deaths were a murder-suicide or a double murder.

Investigators were working with MGM Grand security officials to review surveillance tapes to determine what the men did while at the hotel-casino, Lee said.

The sheriff did not release the identities of the two men, one in his 20s and the other in his 30s. Lee said one of them had a criminal history in Arizona and had been identified by the FBI based on fingerprints. He said investigators were trying to confirm the identity of the other man and to contact family members.

The bodies were found Thursday morning off a dirt road next to a lake in the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, south of the crossroads town of Alamo about 80 miles north of Las Vegas.

They appeared to have died from shotgun blasts to the head, Lee said. Autopsies were to be conducted by the Clark County coroner in Las Vegas, where an official said no information was available Friday.

Lee said a shotgun that appeared to have been recently purchased was found near the bodies, along with a car rented from Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix.

Detectives were working with the Maricopa County sheriff’s office in Phoenix to learn more about the men, who Lee said may have been employed by a large retail chain.

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