A Las Vegas woman missing for more than a week before police found her body, alongside the body of her alleged killer in an apparent murder-suicide, met the man about a month ago on a dating site, police said.
Juliane Kellner, 42, was reported missing July 2 by one of her roommates, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Her decomposing body was found in an apartment in Henderson eight days later.
Kellner had been shot in the chest, according to the Sun.
Her alleged killer, identified by the Clark County Coroner's Office as Victor Crisan, 39, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head, KLAS in Las Vegas reported.
Henderson police told the news station Kellner and Crisan met on the Plenty of Fish dating site. They had known one another for about a month.
Little is known about Crisan and the motive for the murder-suicide was unclear.
Kellner’s family and friends have been critical of Las Vegas and Henderson investigators, who they believe did not do enough to find her after she was reported missing. Kellner’s son, Brandon Wilt, 21, of Cape Coral, Florida, told news stations there and in Nevada that his mother’s Volkswagen Jetta was found parked at Crisan’s apartment complex June 30, two days after Kellner was last seen alive by her roommates.
It took another 10 days before officers went into Crisan’s apartment.
“Family, friends, everybody’s screaming and crying, telling them this is not right,” Wilt told KLAS. “‘Her car is parked there. There is something wrong here, and you guys need to do something about it.’ And they would not.”
“There’s no reason she should’ve sat in that apartment for that many days when there was so many people that cared for her and was pushing for them to go into that apartment,” Wilt told Fox 4 in Cape Coral.
Henderson police officials told KVVU-TV in Vegas that the initial report they got was of the discovery of Kellner’s car, which family and friends found at the Palm Villas at Whitney Ranch. Lt. Kirk Moore, the department’s public information officer, said at that point, the vehicle was not tied to a particular incident or suspect at that location.
“When we got that information, we knocked, of course, on that door, we knocked on many of the other apartments in that complex with a picture of the missing (woman) to see if anybody had seen or knew who she was,” Moore told the news station.
No one reported having seen Kellner, who police had no concrete reason to believe was in danger, authorities said.
“Absent of those circumstances, we can’t just go into somebody’s house or a structure warrantlessly. You know, we just can’t do that,” Moore said.
Meanwhile, friends and family were frantically trying to find Kellner, who had not shown up for work on July 1 and had not been in touch with anyone. A missing person flier said it was unlike her to miss work.
“It is HIGHLY unusual that she hasn’t been in contact with anyone,” the flier read.
A July 7 post on her Facebook page indicates it was posted by a friend trying to glean information from the social media platform or from Kellner’s online friends.
“At this point we are just looking for any hint of where she might have been or who with?” the post reads. “If you know something and are scared to come forward, PLEASE ASK YOURSELF IF YOU WOULD WANT TO BE FOUND? Would you want your life to matter enough that people would be willing to come forward? Would you want your family and children to be able to sleep?
“A person’s life should matter. If you called yourself a friend and are sitting there reading this holding a piece of information, I pray you find it in yourself to do the right thing.”
By July 10, Las Vegas police investigators had obtained enough information to warrant going into Crisan’s apartment, KVVU-TV reported. Officials did not detail what that information was.
“They were able to obtain a key and we went with them, and we discovered what, unfortunately, was a very horrific scene,” Moore told the news station.
Kellner’s twin 15-year-old daughters had been scheduled to travel to Las Vegas on July 5 to spend time with their mother, who moved there from Florida last year.
Instead, it was Wilt who traveled to Nevada to bring his mother home.
“I couldn’t even kiss my mom one last time,” Wilt told KTNV in Las Vegas. “They would not let me see her.”
Kellner moved to Vegas last year in an attempt to get her life back on track, her family said. Wilt told the Las Vegas Review-Journal his mother got sober after a long struggle with addiction, found a job at the Las Vegas Athletic Club, bought a car and found her faith.
“She seemed like a whole different person and that’s why she stayed,” Wilt said. “She was doing so well in life that she didn’t want to give up on that.”
Kellner was reportedly a childhood victim of sex trafficking. In a YouTube video from January, in which Kellner speaks of her past, she tells her audience that her parents, who were about 45 and 19 when she was born in Germany, sold her into sexual slavery.
The trauma brought with it a lifetime of heartache that included not only addiction, but sex work as an adult.
Watch Juliane Kellner speak about her childhood trauma and her recovery below.
Wilt said his mother went to Las Vegas to enter treatment at Refuge for Women, which describes itself as a “national, faith-based organization providing a residential healing and recovery program for survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation to receive safe housing, counseling, life and work skills development.”
By her family’s accounts, the 12-month program appeared to work for Kellner. The outgoing mother and grandmother, who her son said “could make anybody laugh,” began speaking in public about the trauma of her past and her recovery.
In that January video, a beaming Kellner praises God, who she says she knows never meant the harm that came to her throughout her life.
“Today, I know God’s faithfulness,” Kellner says. “Today, I can say with the utmost confidence that God’s plans for me are good.”
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