LAS VEGAS (AP) — An elected official in the Las Vegas area was arrested Wednesday and identified by police as the suspect in the fatal stabbing of a veteran newspaper reporter whose investigation into the official’s work predated his primary loss in June.
Clark County public administrator Robert “Rob” Telles, a Democrat, was taken into custody in his home by a police SWAT unit hours after investigators issued a search warrant and seized vehicles in the criminal investigation into the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German.
“The suspect in the murder that took place on September 2, 2022 has been taken into custody,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police tweeted shortly before 7 p.m.
Telles, 45, has been the focus of German coverage of unrest, including complaints of administrative bullying, favoritism and Telles’ relationship with a subordinate staffer in the district office who manages the property of people who die without wills or family contacts.
Telles did not immediately respond to telephone messages at his district office on Wednesday, and it was not immediately clear after his arrest whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. The municipal administration office was closed.
German joined the Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades with the Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter covering courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime.
Telles, a lawyer who practices probate and probate law, won his elected position in 2018, replacing a public administrator for three terms. He lost his June primary to assistant board member Rita Reid. Telles’ term expires on December 31.
In the weeks leading up to the election, German newspapers reported an office “entangled in unrest and internal dissension” between old and new employees led by Telles.
Telles blamed “vintage cars” for exaggerating the extent of his relationship with a female staffer and for falsely claiming he assaulted them.
“All my new hires are super happy and everyone is productive and doing well,” he told the paper. “We’ve almost doubled office productivity.”
Telles later posted Twitter complaints about German, the Review-Journal reported, including claims in June that German was a bully “obsessed” with him.
German, a reporter with a reputation for tenacity, was working on follow-up reports, the paper said Wednesday, and recently filed public registry requests for emails and text messages between Telles and three other county officials, including Reid and adviser Michael Murphy.
Murphy, the former Clark County coroner hired to address leadership complaints in the public administrators’ office, did not immediately respond to a telephone message.
German’s body was found outside his home on Saturday morning. Police said he was apparently killed on Friday and characterized the attack as an isolated incident. The Clark County coroner ruled that the German died of “multiple sharp injuries” and ruled the case a homicide.
After police called for public help on Monday to identify a suspect, developments came quickly.
Police on Tuesday showed a short video of a possible suspect walking on a sidewalk dressed in bright orange “construction clothes” and distributed a photo of a striking red or maroon GMC Yukon Denali SUV with chrome handles, a sunroof and a luggage rack. may be related to the case.
Telles was seen in newspaper photos on Tuesday washing a similar vehicle parked in his driveway, and KTNV-TV reported that the vehicle was towed after police arrived on Wednesday.
German died of “several sharp injuries,” the Clark County coroner said, and the case was labeled manslaughter.