Tuesday, May 27, 1997 | 11:59 a.m.
Seven-year-old Sherrice Iverson, found murdered over the weekend at the Primadonna hotel-casino, was raped before she was choked to death, Metro Police said.
The girl had been playing inside the resort's video arcade with her 14-year-old brother while their father, 57-year-old LeRoy Iverson, gambled in the casino. Her body was found by an employee in a restroom near the arcade at 5:30 a.m. Sunday. She had been "forcibly raped," homicide Sgt. Bill Keeton said.
Sherrice died from asphyxiation due to strangulation, a coroner's office spokeswoman said today.
The murder occurred in a toilet stall. State law prohibits cameras in restrooms, said Aaron Cohen, spokesman for Primadonna.
The children had been living with their father in Los Angeles. Their mother, also from Los Angeles, had been seeking custody through the courts.
They had arrived at Primm, about 50 miles southwest of Las Vegas, and went to Buffalo Bill's hotel-casino, also owned by Primadonna Resorts Inc., about 12:30 a.m., hotel officials said. The family had not booked a hotel room. The father had been looking for his daughter when her body was found.
At 1:30 a.m., Iverson had been kicked out by security officers at Buffalo Bill's because he wasn't supervising his children, Keeton said. The children "were reunited with their father and told to leave," he said.
Sherrice's teenage brother had also been warned by security at Buffalo Bill's "not to be in the gaming areas and to take better care of his little sister," Keeton said.
After police interviewed Iverson, the boy was returned to his father.
Chris Gibase, Primadonna chief operating officer, said security officers "found the young girl alone at one of our arcades and immediately acted to reunite her with her family."
"Our security found the young girl alone at 1:33 a.m. and paged her family, and her older brother came and got her," Gibase said.
After that, the man and his kids went across Interstate 15 to the Primadonna, where the murder occurred.
No charges were being sought against the father at this time, Keeton said.
"Obviously, the juvenile department can look at the case when we're done, but right now we're focusing on catching the killers," he said.
Witnesses told police they saw two young men with the girl near the arcade. They are considered suspects in the murder, Keeton said.
They are described as white males in their late teens or early 20s. One was clean shaven with short light brown to blond hair. He was wearing a dark-colored baseball cap backward on his head. The other suspect had dark, short hair and sideburns. He was wearing a dark-colored polo shirt and dark knee-length shorts.
Police were processing surveillance videotape today "to improve the quality of it so we can put it out to the public," Keeton said. The videotape shows the men near the girl, he said.
Primadonna employees "worked throughout the night to view and provide monitored tapes of the suspected killers," Gibase said.
During an interview with investigators, police learned that Iverson had three other children who also had died, two from sudden infant death syndrome and one who had been stillborn.