RENO, Nev. (AP) — Authorities worked Thursday to identity a body found in the backyard of a Nevada home and determine if it's a missing woman whose husband committed suicide after police questioned him about her disappearance.
Washoe County deputies found the buried remains Wednesday at the couple's home in Spanish Springs, north of Reno, while executing a search warrant involving the disappearance of Colleen Muhl, 56, sheriff's Lt. Tom Green said.
Before his death, her husband, Gerald Muhl, 51, told police she had died in California during a visit in mid-February. Authorities said he was found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound soon after investigators told him his story wasn't adding up.
Detectives secured the search warrant after receiving a tip that Gerald Muhl had been seen moving rocks in the backyard, sheriff's spokesman Bob Harmon said. He said he couldn't provide any details about the location or depth of the grave.
"All I can say at this time is that it was a sophisticated burial," he told The Associated Press.
It was initially unclear if the remains were those of a man or woman and how long they had been in the yard.
"Right now we are waiting on the medical examiner's office to complete their investigation, to identify the body, notify next of kin and perhaps give us a cause of death," Harmon said. He said Thursday evening that he did not expect any new information to be released until at least Friday.
Colleen Muhl was last seen in Nevada on Feb. 17. In the days that followed, Gerald Muhl consented to multiple interviews with investigators and told them that California authorities had notified him that she died there on Feb. 22, Green said.
"It hadn't gotten to the point we were calling him a liar," Green said last week. "But his story changed back and forth. Things weren't adding up."
Colleen Muhl's niece, Michelle Jones, said family members grew concerned after Gerald Muhl provided conflicting accounts of her aunt's death.
"This has turned into a big, horrible nightmare," she told KTVN-TV.
Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com