Las Vegas Police Discover Severed Human Head During Traffic Stop Near Rio Casino

Posted on: December 26, 2021, 10:18h. 

Last updated on: December 26, 2021, 11:01h.

Las Vegas police made a gruesome discovery on Thursday during what they had otherwise thought would be a routine traffic stop.

Las Vegas police Rio arrest Nevada murder
Las Vegas Metro Police respond to an incident at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino near the Strip on October 11, 2021. Police say this week a man was arrested in a separate incident outside the casino resort. He was found to be in possession of human remains. (Image: FOX5)

KLAS in Las Vegas reports that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) was attempting to pull over a pickup truck on Thursday, December 23, near the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Police say that after initiating the stop, 57-year-old Eric Holland allegedly attempted to flee on foot. Officers subdued Holland by striking him with a taser.

Law enforcement contends that after apprehending Holland, a search of his vehicle turned up human remains. Police report that several large coolers were located in the bed of the pickup and were found to contain human body parts, including a severed head.

The Holland arrest comes just days after police made an arrest in a stabbing that occurred inside the Rio in early December. LVMPD alleges that Nicholas Dove, 27, who is now in custody, is responsible for the December 3 stabbing and murder of 38-year-old Carlos Polanco.

The Rio casino resort is operated by Caesars Entertainment. The property is just west of the Las Vegas Strip.

Mass Murders

Much remains unknown regarding the discovery of human remains on Holland’s truck. Holland is set to appear in court on Tuesday.

An investigation is ongoing into whose remains they are and how Holland became in possession of the body parts. Metro has not yet issued a press release on the incident.

Court records, however, show that Holland has been charged with one felony count of open murder with the use of a deadly weapon or tear gas. Open murder is a general allegation of murder, and can result in an array of both felony and/or misdemeanor charges. Holland has been appointed a public defender.

While overall crime rates initially dropped during the early stages of the pandemic, murders increased substantially in 2021. Metro Police reported last week that murders spiked 49 percent this year from 2020.

As of December 17, the LVMPD has investigated 143 murders in the Las Vegas Valley. Police say 98 of the killings were committed with firearms. Nineteen were by blunt trauma, 15 by sharp trauma, two by intentional overdose, and two by asphyxiation. Seven causes of death remain under investigation.

Metro says 84 percent of the murders have been cleared, meaning either arrests have been made or the cases have been closed.

Murders Comparatively Low

The number of Las Vegas murders in 2021 is more in line with pre-pandemic rates.

Las Vegas Murders

2020 — 96

2019 — 144

2018 — 120

2017 — 141

The 143 murders through December 17 in Las Vegas is considerably lower than some other US cities with comparable populations. Baltimore, which actually has a slightly smaller population than Las Vegas, has reported 335 homicides this year.

St. Louis, which has a much smaller population, has reported 189 murders through Christmas.

Chicago continues to lead the way in terms of cities with the most murders. The Windy City has confirmed more than 520 murders this year, though its population is several times larger than Las Vegas.