Storey County’s first homicide since 2008* occurs in Virginia City Highlands
Storey County Sheriff Deputies and paramedics responded to a 911 call on Saddleback Drive in the Virginia City Highlands on January 26th. Upon arrival, they discovered Janice McElhaney unconscious and bleeding. Paramedics immediately dispatched Life Flight and transported Janice to the mailboxes where LIfeFlight flew her to Renown Hospital in Reno. She died several hours later. The cause of death is listed as the result of blunt force injuries.
Approximately an hour and a half after emergency personnel arrived on the scene, Washoe County 911 Dispatch received a call from William Collier in Incline Village from Collier requesting a welfare check on McElhaney. While Mr. Collier was on the phone, Washoe County contacted Sheriff Antinoro for more information. Shortly after Collier hung up, he was in the custody of Washoe County Sheriff Deputies.
He was transported to Virginia City where Storey County Deputies booked Collier into Storey County Jail for Open Murder.
Court Date Set
Storey County Justice Court held an arraignment hearing for Mr. Collier on Monday, January 26th. Storey County Justice Court assigned Mr. Collier a public defender and he was denied bail. Collier’s preliminary hearing is scheduled sometime June pending scheduling. He remains held in custody in Storey County Jail without bail.
According to Sheriff Antinoro, “Mr. Collier has no previous criminal history in Nevada. He is not in State or FBI databases, but we are still checking into his background. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release more information as it becomes available.”
Janice McElhaney is survived by 5 children. She lived in The Highlands for over a decade and married Mr. Collier a couple of years ago, according to a family friend. A veteran, Janice worked for the Veterans Administration in Carson City.
Storey County has roughly 12.4 domestic violence arrests per year, according to Antinoro. “We get on average 72 domestic violence calls a year, and about 12 of those end up in arrests. Stopping domestic violence is a high priority in our department and we encourage anyone in that situation to reach out to us or the other resources in our community to address this issue.”
Friends of the Family have set up a gofundme page to help the surviving children raise funds for their immediate needs.
Since this article posted, several people have contacted me here and on Social Media to remind me of the Judy Black case. Judy’s death really divided the community based on Sheriff Antinoro’s initial finding that the death was accidental. Bret was charged with murder in 2017 and the case was dismissed when he was found incompetent to stand trial. He is in a nursing home and will be for the remainder of his life.
There were two incidents where dead bodies were found in Storey County, but the cases were prosecuted in Lyon and Washoe Counties. Storey County was the location where the victims were discovered, but not where the murders took place.
According to local sources, Eileen Pruitt was murdered in Lockwood in 2009.
According to family friends, the couple was married for less than two years and she worked at the Veterans Administration in Reno