Las Vegas Sun

June 27, 2019

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Man tried to cover up housemate’s slaying as suicide, police say

Updated Friday, June 14, 2019 | 6:10 p.m.

Daniel Lopez

Daniel Lopez

A suspect told Metro Police that the self-inflicted gunshot blast he said killed his roommate woke him up. And when he went to the living room and found her lifeless on a couch with his rifle in her lap, he “freaked out.”

So instead of calling 911, Daniel Lopez grabbed a large cardboard box intended for a Christmas tree, replacing its contents with Ana Dolores Guayasamin’s body, and with supplies he allegedly used to clean up the scene, according to his arrest affidavit. He didn’t want his grandmother to witness the gory suicide, he said.

Thursday, almost five months after the shooting, Lopez, 33, was arrested on one count each of murder and destroying and concealing evidence, jail logs show. He intended to “dispose” of the body, police said.

Guayasamin, 31, died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office, which hadn’t officially ruled the death a homicide, deferring to the Metro investigation.

But the police probe pointed toward Lopez being responsible, and the affidavit outlines his apparently flimsy explanations, and a history of troubling behavior, and disturbing actions that Jan. 18.

After a work shift, a third housemate was told by Lopez that their roommate had taken her own life, police said. That person summoned police about 2:30 p.m. to the house in the 3700 block of Bronco Billy Court, near Durango Drive and Alexander Road.

The brown box was located in a hallway that adjoins the living room, police said. Inside, investigators also found blankets, couch cushions, cleaning supplies, women's clothes, and a half-eaten apple, according to the affidavit. Lopez said he stored the rifle back in his closet.

Detectives spoke to Lopez that day and did not arrest him. But the investigation continued, and police claim Guayasamin could not have shot herself because the rifle was a bit longer than her arms. A report on his cellphone completed the next day determined that its contents were deleted the day of the shooting, police said.

Then witnesses came forward. Hours before the shooting, one said he was awaken by Guayasamin’s yells, calling his name and asking for help, police said. The man found her lying outside his room in a fetal position, claiming that Lopez had strangled her.

Lopez, who towered over her, denied the allegation, police said.

Weeks removed from the shooting, the roommate said he’d asked Lopez why he didn’t call 911, to which the suspect allegedly said he’d planned on killing her. Furthermore, the roommate claimed the suspect had spoken about taking his own life out of guilt over the woman’s death, police said.

Police spoke with a woman who’d been romantically involved with Lopez, who in March said he’d strangled and pointed a gun at her in the past, according to the affidavit.

The case against Lopez was filed on June 5, and a warrant for his arrest was issued Tuesday, Las Vegas Justice Court records show.

A fugitive task force took Lopez into custody Thursday without incident at an apartment in the 3900 block of Lazy Pine Street, near Alexander and Rancho Drive, police said.