Las Vegas Sun

August 18, 2019

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Case of Henderson man accused of killing wife raises questions of previous wife’s death

Alan Sylwester

Henderson Police

Alan Sylwester

A man accused of strangling his wife earlier this year in their Henderson home remains a “person of interest” in the killing of a previous wife who also died under similar circumstances seven years ago in Northern California, according to authorities.

Alan Sylwester, 62, was the last person to see both women alive after “rough sex,” Henderson Police said.

Locally, Sylwester was jailed May 14 on one count of murder in the slaying of Karen Byer, 63. He’s apparently since bailed out of the Henderson Detention Center.

Meanwhile, he is considered a person of interest in the March 29, 2011, death of Laura Rhea Gilliom in Alameda County, Calif., said Sgt. Steve Goard with the Livermore Police Department.

He was questioned at the time but not charged with a crime, Goard said. However, he hasn’t been ruled out as a suspect, and the homicide investigation is ongoing, he added.

When police questioned Sylwester about Byer’s March 4, killing, he outlined her ailments: she had just gone through cancer treatment, she had arthritis and she’d recently fallen off a ladder, according to his arrest report.

After investigators found cuts and bruises on Byer’s body, Sylwester opened up about their sex life in which both he and the victim had been handcuffed to each other’s wrists the night before police responded to their house on 46 Caminito Amore, near Lake Las Vegas.

But the bruising on both of Byer’s wrists, as well as other cuts weren’t consistent with being handcuffed to anyone, especially since Sylwester didn’t have any marks of his own, police said. Additionally, he couldn’t say which of his wrists had supposedly been cuffed, according to the report.

During a more in-depth examination of Byer’s body, they found grip marks on her neck that suggested she’d been asphyxiated with two hands, police said.

An investigation by the Clark County Coroner’s Office learned about Gilliom’s death almost seven years to the date, police said. She’s supposedly died from an intoxication of anti-depressant medication, but “suspicious” marks had appeared on her arms.

Both police departments collaborated and found that both women died after rough sex involving handcuffs and were found nude by first responders, police said.