Las Vegas Sun

December 12, 2018

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Police: Homeless Laughlin man killed girlfriend, burned her belongings

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Aaron Campbell

Aaron Campbell, a homeless man in Laughlin, initially told police that he found his girlfriend’s body in a ditch hours after she walked away from their camp to use the bathroom.

But Barbara Heide was not on foot, and marks on her back proved it, Metro Police wrote in Campbell’s murder arrest warrant. Instead, she had been dragged from the couple’s tent near the Colorado River.

When confronted with that information, Campbell changed his narrative, then he changed it again — each time saying he didn’t kill her, police said.

Campbell, 46, was arrested on Tuesday in the death of Heide, who died from blunt force trauma, police said. Officers responded to the ditch about 4:40 a.m. on May 7 and found the body, police said. Campbell had called 911.

Initially, Campbell said that he argued with Heide because she was drunk. He then went to sleep after she walked out to go use the restroom, waking up to find her body in the ditch, he told police.

But when he was told about the drag marks, Campbell then said he dragged her to the ditch after she urinated in the tent, but that she was alive, police said. He had burned her sleeping bag and her belongings.

And when police said that an autopsy determined Heide was dead before the drag marks were inflicted on her, Campbell said that he pulled her to the ditch because she hit him during a confrontation.

She may have been dead, but “he never hit or pushed Heide,” Campbell said.

The couple had been dating for several months and slept in Laughlin hotels during the week, but in a tent during the weekends due to higher room prices.

Before Heide’s death, Metro officers in January and April responded to at least two domestic violence calls involving the couple in which Heide had been listed as a victim, according to the report.

Campbell, who was formally deemed a suspect on July 10, was arrested on Tuesday at the Laughlin casino strip on the warrant.