Since January, a collection of homicides in the parks, trails, and side roads of Anchorage have the residents wondering if an Anchorage serial killer might be preying on the people there.
Very few details have been revealed in the case, but we do know that three of them were shot and a few of them have been multiple homicides. A couple of the murders have occurred in the Valley of the Moon Park, so that, sadly, may become the moniker for the killings.
So far this year, Anchorage has had twenty-five homicides, fifteen of them occurring since June, and is on pace to be the deadliest year in the city since 1995. There were a record 29 homicides, and though we're hoping it stops before that point, there's no indication that it will happen.
The most recent murders happened in late August, when two men were found dead along the Chester Creek Trail. Here are some details:
Officers responding to a citizen call just before 2 a.m. first found a man dead on the bike path and then a second man dead nearby, police said in a statement. [Sgt. Slawomir] Markiewicz would not say how the victims are believed to have died. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
Some neighbors reported hearing overnight gunshots on NextDoor, a neighborhood social network, said Richard Clement, who lives just across the creek from where the bodies were found.
Four officers picked up a body on a stretcher from the bike trail and loaded it into the medical examiner's vehicle.
There were no immediate indications of where the other body was discovered. At least four yellow evidence markers could be seen on the ground and picnic tables beneath the pavilion, which serves as a barbecue spot on sunny summer days like Sunday.
Around 8:45 a.m., an Anchorage Fire Department engine arrived, and crews stretched out a fire hose from the parking lot to the pavilion. As they hosed down one of the picnic tables, the water pouring off of it turned a bright red.One of the victims was 34-year-old Kevin S. Turner, who purportedly "struggled with mental health issues as an adult." The other was 25-year-old Bryant "Brie" DeHusson, a "passionate person who pursued social and environmental causes and traveled the world." DeHusson, in the last few years, went by the name "Brie" and perhaps identified as female; however, there is no current evidence that their death was a hate crime of any kind. Because the details are scant, at this point, even potentially unrelated crimes can be lumped in with the surfeit of killings in Anchorage. For example, on September 11, the police released a sketch of a "person of interest" in the killing of Treyveonkindell Thompson back on July 29. When asked if this sketch might be somehow related to the spate of murders, they "declined to comment.
Now, it very well could be that the murders are unconnected, but to me it seems weird that there are so many sets of multiple murders. Three double murders makes for six incidents and nine decedents, so even if it isn't a serial killer, there is definitely something bizarre and deadly going on in Alaska's largest city.
The police have made arrests or charged people in 11 of the 25 murders, but it's not clear whether or not any of the arrests relate to the nine murders. They've identified suspects in a few other cases, but if they don't relate, then it's not pertinent here.Here's a map of the murder locations:
If this interview with KTUU can be believed, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz -- WEIRD! -- and Police Chief Chris Tolley ducked questions about the rumors of a serial killer in the area. Here's an excerpt:
KTUU: There is concern that the killings are connected and talk of a serial killer … could you dispel that? TOLLEY: "Rumors are so terrible. The police department will only deal with verifiable facts. It’s not fair to the victim. It’s not fair to their families, to their neighbors. … How sad. And that’s why it’s very important to use good sources such as Nixles and other information that’s being put out by the police department for good verifiable information."
KTUU: So one way or another today, you can’t say one way or the other if there is a serial killer in Anchorage? TOLLEY: “Again, it’s so easy to look back and see what has happened historically … Once we know all the facts and all the information. We can’t speculate on something that we can’t verify.”
It would definitely be a tragedy to fuel speculation without a reason to, and also perhaps they're holding their cards close to the vest, but it would be nice to have a few more details here.
In two cases, the victims were shot and left to be found. In the rest, there is no clear method of execution. However, the fact that they are releasing so few details on the remaining murders could potentially say more than the details themselves.
If there is an Anchorage serial killer, I'd definitely be interested in doing more research, which I'll add to this relatively sparse article.