Authorities in Las Vegas made a grisly discovery after arresting a man who fled a traffic stop last week when they found several coolers in the man’s vehicle containing a severed head and dismembered body parts. Investigators now believe that 57-year-old Eric Holland murdered and dismembered his friend, placed the severed head and body parts in coolers, then drove around with them in his vehicle “for weeks,” Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS reported.
The gruesome chain of events began on Dec. 23 when patrol officers with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department attempted a traffic stop on a truck near Tropicana Avenue and Duneville Street at approximately 3:42 p.m., according to a police department press release. The driver, who was wanted on several outstanding warrants, allegedly fled from the squad cars but was followed by a police helicopter.
After evading the ground patrol units, the aerial unit reportedly noticed that the driver of the truck switched vehicles. When officers attempted to pull over the driver in his second vehicle, he allegedly fled again. The aerial unit maintained a visual on the new vehicle and led officers to an apartment complex located near the 4200 block of West Rochelle Avenue.
Upon arriving at the scene, officers allegedly saw Holland exiting the second vehicle. When Holland spotted the police, he allegedly “threw various items at officers in an attempt to flee, but was taken into custody,” the press release stated. Investigators subsequently determined that both trucks Holland allegedly used to flee police had previously been reported stolen, and they were both impounded.
According to KLAS, officers were taking an inventory of items inside the trucks when they found the coolers. The devices were reportedly taped shut and were found in the second vehicle allegedly driven by Holland.
“The officer opened up one of the ice chests and discovered a human head inside that ice chest,” Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told the TV station. “I mean, you can imagine the horror when you open up an ice chest and you find a human head inside.”
While the severed head was allegedly in one of the coolers, dismembered pieces of a male body were allegedly dispersed throughout multiple other coolers. Investigators also found evidence they believe shows Holland himself dismembered the man.
“We’ve recovered evidence that shows that he purchased tools that were used to dismember the victim’s body and then placed him into several ice chests that we recovered during the initial arrest,” Spencer reportedly said.
While the Clark County Coroner’s Office has not released the identity of the victim, police said they believe him to be a person friendly with Holland who was reported missing last month. Holland was reportedly the last person the missing man had contact with before vanishing.
Holland was booked in the Clark County Detention Center on the outstanding warrants and was also charged with one count of open murder. He appeared in court Monday on unrelated charges of identity fraud, embezzlement, and forgery, KLAS reported. He is scheduled to appear in court for the open murder charge on Tuesday.
During Monday’s proceeding, Holland reportedly said he had been unsuccessfully trying to get a public defender.
Investigators asked that anyone with information concerning the case to contact the LVMPD Homicide Section at 702-828-3521 or [email protected].
[image via KLAS screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]