LAKEPORT – LAKE COUNTY Over a two day span this week, three people are suspected of a murder and arson at one man’s home, and a brutal carjacking murder in their attempt to get away. Conrad Joseph Velez, 41, and 26-year-old Dahnna Phyllis Burrows, both of Lakeport, and Velez’ 19-year-old son Dakota Joseph Velez are all suspects in the killing of two local men.
According to Steve Brooks of the Lake County Sheriff’s office, on Monday night at 10:30 pm, units from the Lakeport Fire Department were sent to the 3800 block of Highland Springs Road on a report of a structure fire. The location was the rural area to the south of the main town of Lakeport. By 11:30, with the fire under control, firefighters discovered a body inside the home. The Sheriff’s Major Crimes unit and the County Arson Task Force were called to the scene to investigate.
Investigators determined the body in the home to be 54-year-old William Frank Busch. It appeared that he had died prior to the fire of injuries consistent with homicide. His exact cause of death will be determined by an autopsy scheduled for today, Friday January 31.
On Tuesday morning at 8 am, another fire was reported on Soda Bay Road, 5 miles closer to town and near the shore of Clear Lake. The fire was quickly extinguished by Lakeport Fire, and a check of the vehicle revealed it was owned by William Busch, the deceased victim of the previous night’s murder investigation. Detectives and crime scene investigators processed the burnt vehicle for evidence, and were able to develop several leads and connect Conrad and Dakota Velez and Dahnna Burrows to the incident. Conrad Velez had been arrested just a few weeks prior on December 26 in Kelseyville on a parole violation from past charges of burglary and assault. It appeared that the car had been taken from Busch’s residence and, like the home, set afire to cover the evidence.
That same day, at 2:30 pm and nine miles north in Lakeport, at Robin Hill Drive and Lakeshore Blvd., a 911 call reported an assault. The report described a man thrown out of a white SUV, possibly an older model Chevy Suburban. The driver then ran over the man on the ground, and someone then got out of the car and hit the man with an unknown weapon. The assailant then got back in and the SUV left the area. Multiple units responded within three minutes of the report, but the victim died of his injuries shortly after deputies arrived.
An alert was broadcast to law enforcement about the white SUV, and a search was conducted by Sheriff’s deputies, Highway Patrol, and Lakeport police. Meanwhile, the victim was positively identified as 46-year-old Edward Harry Morgan of Kelseyville. A title in his name was located for a white Chevrolet Tahoe, and the description was broadcast. Morgan’s exact cause of death is also pending an autopsy today.
By that evening, 90 miles south in the city of Napa, Velez and Burrows were doing anything but laying low. Police there had been called out to what was described as a “family disturbance”. It was there that Velez and Burrows were detained, and Morgan’s Chevy Tahoe was found close by. Lake Sheriff’s deputies responded to the reports and took them both into custody. They were brought back to Lake County where they were interviewed, and subsequently arrested. They were booked at the Hill Road Correctional Facility; Burrows charged with murder, carjacking, and assault with a deadly weapon. Velez was charged with parole violations and assault with a deadly weapon. As the investigation continues, additional charges will likely be added on.
Finally, yesterday at 5:20 pm, Dakota Velez was located and arrested on suspicion of murder, joining his father and Burrows in custody at the Hill Road Facility.
Lake County News: Three suspects arrested for two Lakeport homicides