Duck hunter finds human remains near Thunder Mountain

Identity of remains is uncertain

This photo was taken on the Under Thunder Trail in April 2014. (Juneau Empire)

A Juneau duck hunter found human remains near the base of Thunder Mountain on Monday afternoon, Juneau police say.

 

In an email Tuesday afternoon, Lt. David Campbell of the Juneau Police Department said the “condition of the remains showed considerable deterioration and prevented identification, including a determination of gender. It was also not possible to determine how long the remains had been in the woods.”

The duck hunter reported his grisly find about 4 p.m. Monday. According to JPD, the remains were found in a camp site approximately 40 minutes’ hike from the trailhead at the end of Jennifer Drive in the Mendenhall Valley.

The Empire observed no sign of police activity when it visited the trail and hiked a short way up it Tuesday afternoon.

Campbell, talking to the Empire at the police station shortly afterward, said detectives visited the site briefly on Monday, then returned Tuesday after sunrise. The remains were found strewn over a wide area, indicating visits by one or more animals. When Campbell asked a detective for his best estimate on how long the remains had been in the area, the detective said six months or more.

The police department said the remains were gathered from the campsite and will be sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage for identification and to determine how the person died.

Campbell said a tent and cook pot were found at the site, which was located in a gully, and the only clothing discovered was a non-gender-specific jacket.

Several Juneau residents and visitors have gone missing within the past six months here. The most notable in this case is 53-year-old Teri Heuscher, who disappeared in June. She was last seen on the “Under Thunder” trail used by the duck hunter who found the remains. Campbell would not disclose whether the jacket matched the description of one worn by Heuscher.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


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