The body of a 55-year-old Juneau woman was found around 7 a.m. Thursday morning near the trailhead of the Switzer Creek and Richard Marriot Trail in the Lemon Creek and Dzantik’I Heeni area, according to police.
Police do not suspect foul play and have not released the woman’s identity pending notification of next of kin, said Juneau Police Department Lt. David Campbell.
“We believe that there’s no foul play involved, and we don’t think people in the community need to be concerned about their personal safety,” Campbell said in a phone interview.
Campbell said a jogger found the body and called a relative, who called police.
After processing the scene, investigators received authorization from the State Medical Examiner Office to move the body, which was taken by Alaskan Memorial Park and Mortuary. The mortuary made arrangements to ship the body to Anchorage for an autopsy, Campbell said.
The woman, who police said was found “dressed for the weather,” was identified by a Bartlett Regional Hospital Emergency Room medical bracelet she was wearing, Campbell said.
Police chose not to speculate on possible causes of death after consultation with the City Attorney’s Office.
“We think we know what happened, but until we are able to get confirmation from the medical examiner’s office we’re not allowed to release those details,” Campbell said.
The body did not look like it had been outside long, Campbell said, based on his talks with investigators.
“It was a fairly fresh deceased body,” he said, although he noted that sometimes it’s harder to tell a time of death in cold weather.
Police used the Dzantik’I Heeni Middle School parking lot as a staging area for the investigation, which prompted some concern among students and families arriving at school.
“I know that definitely when the students and families arrived, they saw the police cars and an ambulance, but it didn’t impact the start of school at all, and it didn’t impact any activity around the school,” said Kristin Bartlett, Juneau School District Communications Manager.
The assistant principal, who was there before school started at 8:30 a.m. along with the principal, Bartlett and other staff, checked with police before 8 a.m. to ensure there wasn’t any danger for students.
“We were having a staff meeting and ended up all being there coincidentally,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett said teachers addressed questions from students at the beginning of class Thursday and assured them there was no danger.