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Teen arrested in Las Vegas in killing of mom and little brother

By Alexia Shurmur

HENDERSON, Nevada (Reuters) - The 16-year-old suspect in the stabbing deaths of his mother and younger brother was arrested on Wednesday in an open-air food court on the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said.

Adrian Navarro-Canales is accused of killing Elvira Canales-Gomez, 40, and Cesar Navarro, 9, last week, a day after they celebrated the teen's birthday at the family's suburban Las Vegas apartment, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant issued for the teenager.

Investigators had been searching for him since Friday, when the decomposing bodies of his mother and brother were discovered in the apartment in Henderson, police said in a statement.

The teen faces two counts of murder with the use of a deadly weapon, according to a criminal complaint filed on Monday.

Police received a tip that Navarro-Canales was hanging around an open-air food court on the Strip on Tuesday night, and detectives found him there on Wednesday, sitting alone, according to a police statement.

A high school dropout who spent most of his time playing video games, the teen is believed to have walked to the Strip - a distance of more than 10 miles - after leaving the family apartment, police said. They said prosecutors plan to try him as an adult.

Elvira Canales-Gomez was last seen by a neighbor on Tuesday afternoon, and Adrian Navarro-Canales is suspected of stabbing his victims the same day, the affidavit said. The weapon used was a large knife, likely from the apartment's kitchen, it said.

After Canales-Gomez failed to show up for work last Wednesday and the younger boy was absent from school, officers went to investigate on Friday, the police statement said.

When they entered the family apartment, they detected an odor that suggested the bodies may have been decomposing for some time, according to the affidavit.

At first, police had classified Navarro-Canales as a missing person, in the belief he might also have been a victim in the attack, but by this past Sunday they said they had uncovered evidence that may link him to the killings.

The teen's cousin told investigators that Navarro-Canales had been known to have punched or pushed his mother, who worked as baker in the Venetian Las Vegas hotel on the Strip, the affidavit said.

The police statement did not provide more details on possible evidence in the case, but the affidavit said a key from the apartment was missing and that Adrian Navarro-Canales apparently has kept his cell phone turned off since Wednesday.

(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Additional reporting by Kevin Gray in Miami,; Editing by Gunna Dickson)

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