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UPDATE: Adult daughter died of strangulation
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UPDATE: Adult daughter died of strangulation

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ELKO – A 61-year-old Elko woman has been arrested on a charge of open murder in the death of her daughter.

Elko Police Department officers were called to a residence at about 7:20 p.m. Sunday on a report of an unresponsive 24-year-old woman.

“Officers arrived and were directed by family members to the victim, April Heather Zavala, who was deceased in a bedroom in the home,” said a release from EPD.

“Subsequent investigation revealed the death was a homicide and the mother, 61-year-old Judith Irene Zavala, was the suspect.”

Police said the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office in Reno conducted an autopsy on Tuesday and determined the cause of death was strangulation.

“This was consistent with the evidence in the investigation performed by the Elko Police Department Detective Unit,” stated police.

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Judith Zavala was arrested Monday by Elko PD Detectives and charged with one count of open murder.

There is no bail on an open murder charge in Nevada.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Zavala’s case is the third charge of open murder to be filed in Elko County this year.

In March, 18-year-old Bryce Dickey of Spring Creek was arrested in the death of 16-year-old Gabrielle (Britney) Ujlaky. He pleaded not guilty earlier this month.

In May, 24-year-old Nathan J. O’Dell was arrested in the death of an infant male that he was caring for while the child’s mother was working in another county.

Another murder case this year involves the death of an Elko sergeant in the Nevada Highway Patrol. Ben Jenkins was killed in neighboring White Pine County when he stopped to aid a motorist along U.S. Highway 93.

John Leonard Dabritz, 65, of Ruth was charged in the case and is awaiting a mental health evaluation.


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