The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man thought to be connected to a homicide, an attempted homicide and a missing person.
Officials say Kurt Andrew Collins, 61, has been linked to the killing of Michael Mahoney of Union City on July 18, 2016; the shooting of Steve Wolf, a member of the Placer County Search and Rescue Team, on Aug. 8, 2016; and the disappearance of Joseph Charles Murphy on Oct. 3, 2003.
Collins is approximately 6 feet tall, weighs 180 pounds and has gray hair and blue eyes. He has lived in the wilderness of the Yuba River near the town of Washington for about 20 years as a gold prospector and a “hermit,” said sheriff’s officials.
Mahoney was found dead outside his summer cabin in the town of Washington in Nevada County. The sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit determined the cause of death as homicide, but has exhausted all leads. Collins is a strong person of interest in the homicide.
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Wolf was shot near a campsite along the river by an unknown assailant. Physical evidence at the campsite led sheriff’s detectives to identify Collins. The shooting took place very close to Mahoney’s summer cabin, officials said.
Murphy was reported missing out of the town of Washington in 2003. He was another gold prospector, and had reportedly worked with Collins before his disappearance. Collins is a person of interest in this case.
The Sheriff’s Office has attempted to find the suspect, but has not been successful. No member of the public has seen him since August 2016. The Sheriff’s Office believes that Collins may have left the town of Washington, and could be gold prospecting elsewhere.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help. Additionally, Michael Mahoney’s family is offering a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the identification and capture of the person responsible for his death. Those who wish to provide information are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit at 530-265-1263.