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Ex-boyfriend booked in case of missing Las Vegas dancer

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LAS VEGAS — The former boyfriend of a missing Las Vegas Strip burlesque dancer has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Jason Griffith, 32, was arrested Friday night on the Las Vegas Strip in the disappearance of Deborah Flores-Narvaez, Las Vegas police said Saturday. He remained held without bail Saturday.

Police Lt. Lew Roberts said a tip led investigators to the dancer’s body in downtown Las Vegas but declined to elaborate. Roberts said officers had probable cause to arrest Griffith, but would not go into details.

Robert called the murder investigation "fairly complicated" and said additional suspects could be arrested.

The 31-year-old dancer was reported missing Dec. 14 after she didn’t show up for a rehearsal of "Fantasy," the nightly burlesque show at the Luxor hotel and casino where she worked.

She reportedly was last seen on Dec. 12 by Griffith. Police originally said Griffith had been cooperative and that there was no evidence a crime had occurred.

The cause of her death will be released by the Clark County Coroners Office after an autopsy Monday, Roberts said.

The arrest ends an emotional monthlong search by the dancer’s sister, Celeste Flores-Narvaez of Atlanta, who spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas searching for her younger sibling and urging police to probe the disappearance as more than a missing-person case.

Celeste returned home Jan. 2, convinced that her search was a failure.

She told The Associated Press investigators informed her that DNA evidence indicated they had found her sister’s body.

"There are just no words," said Celeste, who returned to Las Vegas Saturday. "How do you put into words finding out that your sister’s ex-boyfriend has been arrested for murder?"

Celeste said investigators refused to give her details about the tip or how the body was located.

Celeste said she hopes the coroner’s report will show the body belongs to someone else. "I really hope they are wrong," she said.

Deborah Flores-Narvaez and Griffith had been dating for about a year when police responded to a domestic violence call involving the couple on Oct. 22. She told police that she was pregnant with Griffith’s child when he stole her iPhone, pushed her down on the ground, kicked her and pulled out her hair.

Griffith told police the couple had been in an argument, but denied hitting her.

Shortly before she went missing, Deborah sent her mother a text message that said if anything ever happened, Griffith was her emergency contact.

Police found Deborah’s car Dec. 16 in northeast Las Vegas. Roberts would not say whether Griffith’s fingerprints were found in the vehicle.

He said he did not know whether Deborah was still pregnant when she was killed.

Celeste said Griffith had told her Deborah was returning to her home off the Las Vegas Strip when she left his house on Dec. 12.

Deborah gave up a career in finance to move to Las Vegas to become a dancer two years ago. She previously lived in Maryland, where she served as an ambassador for the Washington Redskins in 2007, a non-performing position that sent her into the community.


Associated Press writer Martin Griffith in Reno contributed to this report.

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