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Was This Vegas Teen's Death A Result Of Russian Roulette Or Premeditated Murder?

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How Did Matthew Minkler Die? Details Las Vegas Teen Died Playing Russian Roulette Or Murdered By Friends

According to his "friends," Matthew Minkler, 17, died on June 8 during a modified game of Russian Roulette — but the evidence says otherwise.

A police report states that Jaiden Caruso, 16, and Kody Harlan, 17, were with the Las Vegas teen when he died. They never called for help or reported his death and later returned to clean up the scene.

“They never called 911,” detectives wrote in the boy's probable cause arrest report. “They never attempted to render aid.”

Minkler was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in an abandoned Nevada home.

Authorities said that Caruso and Harlan went back to the house and hid Minkler's body. Police also reported that “in what can only be described as a heinous action after the fact,” "F*** Matt" was spray painted on the closet door Minkler's body was found in.

“We know this wasn’t Russian roulette,” his mother, Jamie Shanklin, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “My kid was shot in the chin, like they were shutting him up.”

The boys were arrested for leading police on a car chase in a stolen Mercedes and Harlan led the officers to Minkler's body. A third boy who was not named was arrested in connection to the murder as well.

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Caruso "broke down" when questioned about the murder and said it was an accident, WESH-2 reports. Caruso “never allowed the other participants to handle the firearm or pull the trigger themselves,” he told police.

Police searched Caruso's phone and found photos and videos of the shooting. In one of the shots, the teen says, "Bro, I just caught a body."


Minkler's wallet and a Ruger .357 revolver were found in the stolen vehicle and police say this is an important find, WESH-2 writes.

“This discovery was also vital because although [suspect] claimed to have returned to the scene because ‘he didn’t feel right just leaving his friend,’ the fact that they stole his wallet speaks otherwise,” police said.

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Shanklin believes her son's death is a result of the "beef" Caruso had with Minkler.

The teens are being charged as adults in Minkler's murder. Caruso is charged with murder with a deadly weapon and robbery, while Harlan faces charges of accessory to murder after the fact, destroying evidence and robbery. The third boy faces charges "along the lines" of accessory to murder and destroying evidence, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal.


Harlan is accused of dragging Minkler's lifeless body to the downstairs closet before it was covered with a plastic sheet.

They are being held at the Clark County Detention Center.

Henderson Police are still investigating Minkler's death and are trying to determine if more teenagers were involved in his death.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Minkler's family with funeral costs.

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Sarah Gangraw is a travel-addicted cat lady who lives on black coffee and cheese. She went to college in Australia, graduated from the University of Central Florida, and writes about all things news and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter — she's occasionally funny.