top of page

Albert & Joan Musalo - Murders at Montreux, Reno, Nevada

Hello. I’m Rebekkah Rosewood and this is Thrice Cursed.

Today we’ll be continuing on our road trip. We stopped in Barstow for a few hours to take a quick nap, and when I say we, I mean Luke took a nap and the cats kept me up. BUT, we’re finally out of the massive state that is California, and have moved on into Nevada. Yes, I hear the majority of you yelling, “I know what a map looks like, thanks!”


But for those of us that are the product of the American public education system, I figured I’d get real specific with our travels. Seriously, no judgment. I only realized that Vermont is north of Maryland THIS WEEK. I never claimed to know much, after all. Seriously. Why are you listening? But… moving on.

So now we’re in Nevada, a state whose main export is Sin City. And I’m well aware that Nevada is more than just Las Vegas. I can feel my inbox filling up with angry emails from Reno, Carson City, Sparks, etc… I promise, I see you. And in that vein, it would have been a bit obvious to choose a case from Las Vegas. So we’ll be skipping the party scene today. We’ll have to do body shots and Chippendales another time. Instead, we’re going to take a slight detour from our planned driving route, and take a trip up to Reno, Nevada, and up to the gated golf and country club community of Montreux.

Montreux champions itself as a private, luxury lifestyle community. Each home is either semi-custom or custom, and prices today range from 2 to 5 million dollars. With homes as expensive as these, security was included in the cost of the HOA. In addition to the neighborhood patrols, a guarded gatehouse sat at the main entrance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service entrance, however, was guarded only 12 hours per day. Still, residents were required to inform the security team of any and all expected visitors. Anyone contracted to do work in the community had to provide their identification and register to obtain a 1 to 30 day pass for entrance into Montreux. These steep precautions are one of the reasons it was so shocking when Albert and Joan Musalo were found murdered in their home, shot to death. The other reason was that Albert and Joan Musalo were kind people who seemed to be universally loved by everyone they knew.

Albert Raymond Musalo and Joan Elizabeth Behrman were both born in Brooklyn, New York. They graduated from separate high schools, and didn’t meet until they went on to work at Brooklyn Gas and Electric. The two fell in love and married on January 24th, 1953 at Our Lady of Angels Church in Brooklyn. With an overwhelming amount of love to give, they brought four children into their family.

Throughout their lives, the family moved around quite often to accommodate Albert’s career as a flight engineer for Pan Am Airlines. They lived all over the U.S, and in parts of Europe before settling down in Nevada in 1973. It was there that they would raise their family. While Albert worked, Joan took care of the children. News articles describe her as a homemaker who genuinely found joy in cooking and entertaining family and friends.

After 33 years working for Pan Am Airlines, Albert retired. With his newfound free time, Albert spent his days with Joan. Those who knew the couple described them as “friendly” and “never apart.” Despite having amassed a considerable amount of wealth, the couple owned only one vehicle. Anywhere one went, so did the other. This wasn’t out of necessity but by choice. In spite of their outward appearances, the Musalos were anything but frivolous.

Joan and Albert had both grown up during the depression and because of this, they were pretty frugal in most aspects of their lives. When they decided to move to Montreux in 2004 to be closer to their children, they even opted for a home that was valued on the low end for the community, coming in at 1.2 million dollars. Albert and Joan loved their new community. They quickly made friends with their neighbors and enjoyed taking walks and golfing. Albert also enjoyed skiing, and Joan played tennis. Despite being 75 years old, they were both healthy and active. That is, until March 28th, 2006.

Albert and Joan had been planning a trip to New York to visit their family members. They were set to leave within the next few days, and their daughter, Joanne Kohls, wanted to invite them to dinner before they left. She called, but received no answer. It wasn’t like her parents to not pick up the phone, so she called again. But again, there was no answer. This caused immediate concern. Had they both fallen ill? She called the community’s security company, and requested they check in on her parents. They obliged, making the quick drive over to the Musalo’s home. They didn’t notice any clear signs of a disturbance, and there was no answer when they knocked on the door. The security guards relayed this information back to Joanne, who refused to accept that as an answer.

Joanne and her husband took to the snow-covered roads, seeking answers. In later interviews, Joanne said that the entire drive over, she thought they’d merely fallen ill with the flu, or had a power outage because of the snow. Because of their good health, she never expected that anything truly awful could have happened to them.

Upon arriving at their home, however, she knew something was amiss almost instantly. There were muddy footprints tracked through the home. Sick or otherwise, it was unlike her mother to ever leave that kind of a mess to sit. The reality of the situation hitting her, Joanne asked her husband to walk down the hall to her parents’ room. It’s there that Albert and Joan Musalo were discovered, deceased in their bed.

The police arrived and discovered no signs of forced entry. Prior to Joanne and her husband’s arrival, the doors had been locked. The only signs of someone else’s presence were footprints beneath the snow (to be discovered after the thaw), starting at the six-foot wall separating Albert and Joan’s home from a public hiking trail, the mud tracked through the house, a cut phone line, and several missing items. Authorities also discovered a small amount of DNA belonging to an unidentified male.

Friend and neighbor Marv Burton told Reno-Gazette Journal that the Musalos’ home “was isolated from the neighborhood roadway and backed against Galena Creek.” “Someone could easily come in through many access points to get on the trail, and if they selected a house easiest to get to from the trail, it would be Al’s.” Given that the Musalos didn’t appear to have any enemies, at first glance, it appeared that robbery would have been the most logical motive. However, even though the exact items that were taken have never been made public, authorities have said that they had no significant value, leaving what was once the most likely option, to seem questionable at best.

Lt. Tom Green of the Washoe County Sheriff’s office said that it appears the Musalos were specifically targeted, though for what reason remains a mystery. The authorities also believed that the killer had intimate knowledge of the Musalo’s home, due to there being no apparent signs of a break-in. But here’s the thing. There was nothing in the couple’s personal lives that would indicate someone would have reason to target them. No risky behavior or skeletons in their closet. They’d also never hired anyone to work within the home that would give them the knowledge needed to easily gain access. Unless the Musalos simply left their door unlocked, and the killer had been watching them over several days to understand their patterns, it just doesn’t make sense.

Jim McConnell, a man who had been friends with the Musalos for 36 years, said in an interview that “They were the type of folks that left their door open or invited someone in if they knocked.” Hearing that, it’s not inconceivable to think that their door had been left open. Though it wouldn’t explain why the door was locked when security showed up for their check-in. Unless the killer locked it. Which would be odd, unless they’d intended to delay the discovery, giving them more time to escape. It’s just a guess, but mine is as good as yours. -break-

An investigation into the couple’s whereabouts and activities leading up to their deaths tells us that the last known interaction with the Musalos was with a furniture salesman on March 27th sometime around noon. The newspaper from that day was present inside the home, and their internet history showed activity into the night. This, and the mud on the floor gave authorities a timeline.

Because there was a snowstorm on March 28th, the mud would have had to have come from the night prior, sometime between their last activity on the computer, and the morning. The police’s theory is that the killer cut the phone lines before entering the Musalo’s home and murdering them as they slept.

In March 2008, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office revealed in a news article that they wanted to question a man named Stephen Porter Goins who also went by the alias Donavan Davis, but that he was not considered to be a suspect. Deputy Brooke Keast did not share why they wanted to speak to him, but did say that Goins had been known to frequent casinos in the Reno-Sparks area.

Stephen Goins has a criminal record, with 2 warrants out for his arrest as of 2007. The warrants were for failure to appear in court where he was to be sentenced for a 2007 felony charge for eluding a police officer, as well as enter a plea for 2 robbery charges, and a burglary charge. After that news article, released in 2008, there were no further mentions of Goins.

In 2021, on the 15-year anniversary, a news article was published. In this article, Washoe County Sheriff’s Sargeant, West Urban, gave us some new insight into the case. According to him, the file on Albert and Joan’s murder is 17 binders full and growing, with tips popping up sporadically. Urban said that those leads have produced persons of interest, with the most recent one in 2017 involving an unspecified person in Alaska. They’ve since been ruled out.

Unfortunately, that’s all I’ve got. Urban believes that the answer lies outside the file because “too many good investigators have been through it.” But he, and I, hold out hope that the DNA evidence will someday lead to the capture of the killer. Or that someone somewhere will remember some small detail about that frosty night in March that will crack the case wide open.

Should you know anything, you can submit a tip by calling Secret Witness at (775) 322-4900, or click the link in the show notes or blog post to fill out a tip form.

I’ll be keeping my eye out for any updates. I’m also learning how to submit Freedom of Information Act requests, so hopefully in the future I can include more detail.

Albert and Joan Musalo were kind, loving people who lived a quiet life. They were dedicated to each other and their children, and were content in just enjoying the presence of their loved ones. They left behind two daughters, two sons, and seven grandchildren. Possibly more by now.

I will end this episode by reading the obituary posted by Albert and Joan’s children to

“In Loving Memory of Albert and Joan Musalo. One year ago our loving parents, Al and Joan Musalo, were brutally and senselessly murdered. On March 28th, 2006 our parents lives were taken at their Montreux home in Reno, Nevada. Their family and friends miss them each day, especially Mom's infectious laughter and Dad's guiding advice. We are still waiting for an answer as to how this senseless tragedy could have happened, and for the peace that will come from knowing that the murderer has been caught. If you have any information that could help solve this case, please contact the Reno Secret Witness Program at (775) 322-4900. A reward of $35,000 is being offered for the arrest and conviction of the killer. Our parents made homes and friends in many places around the world. Dad was a flight engineer with Pan American Airlines for 33 years. Mom provided a loving home for her husband and four children; Susan, Richard, Joanne, and Robert. Natives of Brooklyn, New York, their wanderlust and Dad's career brought them to Lindenhurst and Merrick, Long Island; Greenwich, Connecticut; Berlin, Germany; Moreira, Spain; Friday Harbor and Seattle, Washington; Bonita Springs, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; and Incline Village, Glenbrook, Genoa, and Reno, Nevada. In between packing to move (Mom's never ending hobby!), they enjoyed tennis, golfing, sailing, skiing, flying, and playing Scrabble. Mom enjoyed preparing good food for everyone. The center of their lives was spending time with family and friends. Laughter and love filled their home. There will always be an ache in our hearts and a deep sorrow that comes from the way that they left this world, but we are grateful for the love and experiences we have shared together as a family and will always cherish those memories that keep our parents near.”

This has been the cursed tale of the murders at Montreux, with two beautiful lives extinguished, and no answers to be found… Yet.

For more cursed content, you can find my website at Find me on socials at ThriceCursedPod. Join the discord server, Facebook Group, or Patreon through links on the website. Or just shoot me an email to say hey at

Until next time, keep your curses hexy and your hexes sexy.


1 view0 comments
bottom of page