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Report: Journalist's murder caught on video; led police to public official suspected of murder

Rob Telles booking photo - LVMPD.jpg
Suspect in journalist's murder
Homicide 9-7-2022 hat.jpg
Homicide 9-7-2022 shoe.jpg
German suspect 1 - LVMPD.jpg
German suspect 2 - LVMPD.jpg
German homicide suspect vehicle LVMPD .png
GMC at Telles home 1 KTNV 090722.jpg
GMC at Telles home KTNV 090722.jpg
Jeff German - courtesy Review-Journal.jpg
Posted at 1:50 PM, Sep 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-09 16:21:39-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Investigative journalist Jeff German captured the evidence that would help identify the elected official suspected of killing him, an arrest report reveals.

Clark County public administrator Rob Telles was arrested Wednesday evening at his home. Telles' DNA was found under German's fingernails, according to an arrest report obtained by KTNV.

Before he worked as an investigative reporter in Las Vegas, German went to Marquette University and interned at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The encounter between German and a suspect since identified as Telles was captured on video, investigators revealed in a statement of probable cause for Telles' arrest. It lays out a previously unknown timeline of what happened the day German died:

  • 10:54 a.m. Friday, a maroon GMC Denali since linked to Telles arrived in the area of German's home. The 69-year-old lived alone near Vegas Drive and Tenaya Way.
  • At 11:18 a.m., police say the suspect arrived on German's property.
  • The suspect walked directly to the west side of the property and approached a pedestrian gate leading to German's backyard.
  • "Within the next several minutes," German walked out of the garage to the west side of his property.
  • He approached the pedestrian gate and "was immediately attacked," the report states. Police say he fell to the ground and never got back up.
  • The suspect then stood and "calmly" walked east, away from German's home.
  • Six minutes later, a maroon GMC Denali parked directly in front of the residence. The suspect got out, re-approached the area where German fell, and "appeared to look for something," police wrote.
  • At 10:33 a.m. on Saturday, police received a 911 call reporting the discovery of German's body. He was pronounced dead at 12:55 p.m.

An autopsy revealed German died from sharp force injuries. According to the report, he was stabbed at least seven times.

The autopsy also located evidence that would become crucial in identifying his attacker: DNA from an unidentified male underneath German's fingernails.

TELLES ARRESTED: Clark County elected official arrested after search related to local journalist's stabbing death

Through the course of their investigation, police learned a maroon GMC Denali matching the description of the one caught on video was registered to Telles' wife. Additional video showed the vehicle leaving Telles neighborhood at 9:12 a.m. the day of the murder, and returning at approximately 11:51 a.m.

German homicide suspect vehicle
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police shared this image of a vehicle believed to be related to the killing of local investigative journalist Jeff German.

Based on the information they had, investigators got a search warrant to collect Telles' DNA, and to search his home and vehicle.

That search turned up additional evidence, including a pair of shoes and a hat consistent with those worn by the suspect pictured outside German's home.

Telles evidence
A straw hat found during a search of public administrator Rob Telles home is consistent with the hat worn by the suspect in reporter Jeff German's murder, Las Vegas police said.
Telles evidence
A pair of shoes found during a search of public administrator Rob Telles home are consistent with those worn by the suspect in reporter Jeff German's murder, Las Vegas police said.

It's believed Telles "wore these clothing items to conceal his identity and avoid implication in the murder," an investigator wrote.

At 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, Telles' vehicle was stopped by police near Charleston Boulevard and Hualapai Way, and his DNA was collected for testing. Results of those tests revealed Telles' DNA matched the DNA taken from German's fingernails, according to the report.

On Wednesday evening, police returned to Telles' home to arrest him. SWAT officers made the arrest after Telles "refused to exit the house and made suicidal statements," police stated.

Due to "superficial wounds to his arms and possible ingestion of narcotics," Telles was transported to University Medical Center.

As of Thursday morning, he had been moved to the Clark County Detention Center, Capt. Dori Koren confirmed.

Telles' issues with German's reporting were well-documented on social media. In May, German first published reports of staff alleging bullying and a hostile work environment at the Office of the Public Administrator. Telles lost his bid for re-election when he failed to advance from the June primary, and posted a statement accusing German and his opponent of turning Democratic voters against him.

"They are seeking to destroy me both personally and professionally," Telles wrote.

13 INVESTIGATES: Clark County public administrator took to social media to refute investigative reporting

The Office of the Public Administrator was closed on Thursday. In a statement, Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa said employees were working from home, and the office would remain closed until "a determination is made about when it can reopen."

Staff were no longer reporting to Telles as a of "a couple of months ago," Pappa said, after county managers were made aware of personnel issues.

"The Public Administrator is an elected position and the County is reviewing its options under the law regarding Robert Telles' current status as the Public Administrator," Pappa said, adding that the county had suspended Telles' access to county offices or property.

German worked for decades as a columnist and reporter for the Las Vegas Sun and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Following Telles' arrest, the Review-Journal issued a statement which said in part:

"We are relieved Robert Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official. Journalists can't do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution."

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