Authorities say remains in barrel those of Colorado man

BAYARD, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraskan accused of killing a Colorado man and stuffing the body into a barrel found in a creek remains in Wyoming to face charges in that state.

It’s unclear when 24-year-old Zachary Mueller, of Bridgeport, will return to Nebraska to face murder and weapons charges. He is accused of killing 33-year-old Pedro Dominguez, of Greeley, Colorado.

A farmer found the barrel in a creek near Bayard, Nebraska, on Dec. 4. Dominguez had been shot in the back of the head.

Nebraska records don’t list the name of an attorney who could be contacted to comment on Mueller’s behalf.

Morrill County Attorney Travis Rodak told the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1ZBlnWk ) that Mueller will return to Nebraska after the Wyoming case is wrapped up. Mueller’s Wyoming charges include one for car theft and one for reckless driving.

According to court documents, investigators started looking at Mueller in connection to Dominguez’s death after the barrel was found. As they pieced together their case, investigators learned he was jailed more than 100 miles away.

The day after Dominguez’s body was found, police in Cheyenne, Wyo., got a report of a stolen vehicle. Officer Kevin Malatesta said police saw the car and chased it more than 2 miles, ending the pursuit multiple times due to safety reasons.

Police later saw a man walking and identified him as Mueller. Police found the vehicle nearby and determined Mueller had been driving it, according to Malatesta. Mueller also had a Wyoming warrant for domestic violence, police said.

Malatesta said police didn’t know Mueller was wanted in Dominguez’s death until later, when Morrill County sent a bulletin looking for Mueller to law enforcement in the region.

“One of our dispatchers was paying attention, looked up his name, and we realized we had this person in custody,” Malatesta said.

Mueller is scheduled to be arraigned on charges in Wyoming on Jan. 16.

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