13 Investigates


Former Las Vegas police officer faces charges in decades-old cold case

Posted at 3:48 PM, Jan 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 16:56:35-05

A former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer Arthur Sewall is already a convicted sex offender. Now he's facing new charges in a case that's over 20 years old.

Court records show it's murder in connection with another sexual assault. A rape test kit processed last year broke the case with a match to Sewall's DNA.

In March 2016, a sexual assault kit was sent to a contract DNA lab as part of a grant to process sexual assault kits that had never been tested. In October 2016, the report from the lab came back with an identification of male DNA from the sexual assault kit. In February 2017, this DNA profile was entered into the Combined DNA Index System and came back to 51-year-old Sewall.

As a result of additional investigation between February 2017 and December 2017, coupled with the findings from the sexual assault kit, detectives identified Sewall as the suspect in this case. On Jan. 11, 2018, detectives traveled to Reno, where Sewall was living, and interviewed him. On Jan. 12, an arrest warrant was issued.

Authorities allege Sewall shot and killed a prostitute named Nadia Iverson in May 1997. 

Sewall had worked at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as a Corrections Officer in 1990, and in 1992 he was commissioned as a Police Officer with the LVMPD. In February 1997, Sewall was arrested for sexual assault and oppression under color of law. He resigned from the LVMPD in March 1997.

That same year, an undercover sting operation by the LVMPD's Internal Affairs Division caught Sewall pressuring a prostitute to perform a sex act on him with the promise he'd keep her out of jail for alleged drug violations. Sewall was on duty and in uniform at the time.

Another prostitute also accused Sewall of trading sex for favors.

Sewall was only sentenced to probation for the crime of "oppression under color of the law." But he was eventually sentenced to nearly two years in prison in 2004 after violating the conditions of his probation.

Sewall currently being held in Washoe County jail and is expected to be brought back to Las Vegas by the end of this week.

Police credit continued testing of sexual assault kits to helping solve the case. There has been a known sexual assault kit backlog in Nevada, Southern Nevada in particular. 

Here are numbers for Southern Nevada as of mid-December:

Total number of untested sex assault kits prior to the initiative: 6,473
Number of sex assault kits sent out: 4,772
Number of sex assault kits tested: 2,407
Number of Combined DNA Index System entries: 579
Number of Combined DNA Index System Hits: 257 (this is a 44 percent hit rate).

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