Published Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012 | 2:21 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012 | 5:40 p.m.
A 62-year-old man described as a “potential serial killer” has been arrested in the strangling deaths of two women dating to 1978 and is suspected in “many more” slayings, Metro Police announced today.
The suspect, Nathan Burkett, “is an animal,” said Lt. Ray Steiber of Metro’s homicide bureau.
Burkett is suspected in the April 22, 1978, slaying of Barbara Ann Cox, 22, and the Feb. 2, 1994, slaying of Tina Mitchell, 27. In both cases, police said, the women were strangled and their bodies dumped.
DNA evidence led police to Burkett, who was arrested in Mississippi and booked Tuesday at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, authorities said.
This isn’t Burkett’s first time behind bars in Las Vegas.
Police said he served six years of a 115-month sentence after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the 2002 death of 41-year-old Valetter Jean Bousley. She was found strangled to death in the 1300 block of F Street, a quarter-mile from where Mitchell’s body was discovered eight years earlier at an apartment complex in the 900 block of H Street.
Cox’s body was found at an apartment complex where Burkett lived in the 200 block of West Bonanza Road, police said.
Burkett was arrested in Las Vegas on more than a dozen offenses, starting in 1975 with a disorderly conduct count. He went on to be arrested on counts of robbery, kidnapping, battery with a deadly weapon, sexual assault, and battery domestic violence, among other charges.
Police are investigating whether Burkett may have ties to any other unsolved slayings. Metro has about 1,015 unsolved homicides in its cold case files.
A nearly $500,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department allowed the department to re-examine its cold case files, ultimately leading to Burkett’s arrest. The department received the grant in September 2009.
Anyone with information about this case or other cold cases is asked to call Metro’s homicide section at 702-828-3521. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or go online to crimestoppersofnv.com.
CORRECTION: This version corrects the suspect's age to 62, | (August 8, 2012)