For Immediate Release
PR #:1400021
Date Issued:Mar 14, 2014 - 3:25pm

Sheriff's Office updates the Colleen Muhl investigation

CONTACT:Bob Harmon
Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Office 775-785-6235
Cell 775-771-8252

Washoe County Sheriff’s Detectives received confirmation from the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office today that the human remains found in the backyard of the Spanish Springs residence of Colleen and Gerald Muhl have been positively identified as Colleen Muhl.

The Medical Examiner’s Office examination further revealed the manner of death to be Homicide, and the cause of death to be gunshot wound. 

“At this time we’d like to express our sincere condolences to Colleen’s family. We know this has been a very difficult few weeks for them and there are still difficult times ahead,” Washoe County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Tom Green said. “What has to date been a missing person investigation, continues as a homicide investigation.”

Lieutenant Green said that Sheriff’s Detectives and Forensic Science Division staff continue to search for evidence at the Muhl residence located in the 12000 block of Ocean View Drive.  

The Sheriff’s Office continues to ask that anyone with information contact investigators.  The timeline indicates the Muhls arrived home around 3:00 p.m. on February 17, 2014, with Gerald Muhl boarding a flight the following day around 4:00 a.m.  Detectives believe this is the time frame during which the crime occurred.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division at (775) 328-3320, or Secret Witness at (775) 322-4900.

Colleen Muhl’s family has been notified of her death and asks for privacy during their grieving process. 

Background:

Late in the afternoon of Wednesday, March 12, 2014, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Detectives, working with staff from the Forensic Science Division and volunteers from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit, uncovered human remains in the backyard of the Muhl residence.   

Pursuant to a search warrant, investigators had focused their search to an area of rock landscaping in the backyard. An excavation of this area revealed a sophisticated grave with a body wrapped in plastic. Investigators from the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office responded and confirmed the remains were human. 

Investigators believe that the manner in which the body was buried, coupled with weather and soil conditions, prevented discovery by search dogs on previous visits to the yard. However, as the investigation unfolded and Detectives learned more from phone records and witnesses, probable cause was developed to thoroughly search the home and property for evidence of a murder. 

 

The following information is from previous press releases related to this event:

March 4, 2014 Update: Information regarding a subsequent investigation related to case no. 14-1194

On March 03, 2014, after midnight, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to the area of 12000 Ocean View Drive on a report of a suicidal missing man.  Family members of Mr. Gerald Muhl told deputies that Mr. Muhl had left his home on foot and were concerned that he may be suicidal. Gerald Muhl was the husband of still missing Colleen Muhl.   Deputies thoroughly searched the neighborhood but found no sign of Mr. Muhl.

On the morning of March 3rd, a local resident discovered the remains of a deceased male in a field near the 12000 block of Ocean View and reported it to authorities. Sheriff's Office detectives were immediately called to the scene and began an investigation. Cause of death was pending on a medical examination completed by the Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office.   On March 4th, the Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office was able to confirm the identity of the decedent as Gerald Muhl whose death was caused by a self-inflicted wound. At this time, Detectives are not seeking a person of interest or a suspect in this death investigation.

Prior to his death, Gerald Muhl had been cooperating with Detectives in an investigation regarding the disappearance of Muhl's wife, Colleen Muhl. This afternoon, Washoe County Search and Rescue teams are combing the area surrounding the Muhl's residence and adjacent hillside for additional evidence related to this case.

Detectives are interested in speaking to anyone that had contact with or observed either Gerald or Colleen Muhl, especially on February 17th. Anyone with information on the Muhl's or the possible whereabouts of Colleen Muhl is urged to contact the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office at 775-785-WCSO (9276) or Secret Witness at (775) 322-4900.

From March 3, 2014: Sheriff's Detectives Seek Public Assistance in Missing Person Case

On March 2, 2014, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies responded to a reported missing female in the 12000 block of Ocean View Drive in Spanish Springs, Nevada.

The missing woman is identified as 56 year-old Colleen Muhl. She was last known to be at her Ocean View residence on February 17, 2014. 

Muhl’s family and friends are concerned because she has failed to return their calls.  Her whereabouts since February 17 are unknown. Based on the circumstances, Detectives suspect foul play and are currently following several leads. 

The Sheriff’s Office is seeking any information from the public that may assist with this case. Anyone with information about the possible whereabouts of Colleen Muhl are urged to contact the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office at 775-785-WCSO (9276) or Secret Witness at (775) 322-4900.


The Washoe County Sheriff's Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Michael Haley is the 25th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Regional Intelligence Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process and traditional street patrols.

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