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Police continue investigation into Sitka woman missing for 9 months

Posted: July 21, 2013 - 12:13am

SITKA — Sitka police continue to collect information and track down leads in the investigation into the disappearance of Lael Grant, who was reported missing about nine months ago.

Police and family members say they are hoping that someone will come forward with information, or remember important details, that will lead to the resolution of the case.

“We truly think somebody knows something — it’s so hard not to think that,” said Grant’s sister Erika Burkhouse.

Grant grew up in Sitka, and was 33 when she went missing. She was last seen by her family on Oct. 14, and others reported seeing her early the next morning. A few days later her car was spotted on the Nelson Logging Road. Sitka Mountain Rescue, Sitka police, family and other volunteers searched several areas of town extensively over the following weeks, without finding any solid clues about Grant’s whereabouts.

Burkhouse, who lives in Juneau, said she wants to make sure the investigation continues, and people stay alert to any clues that would be helpful to police. She says she knows police are devoting time to the case as time allows, and she stays in “constant contact” with the investigating detective, Jason Sexton.

Lt. Barry Allen said police are determined to solve the case, and are far from giving up.

“We’re definitely still interested in finding out what happened,” he said. “Jason has been putting a fair amount of time on that. It’s the case he is primarily responsible for.”

Police continue to follow any leads provided, and encourage the public to pass on any relevant information to authorities.

“There are some leads coming in,” Allen said. “We’re constantly looking for any new information that can be helpful.”

Sexton added, “We’re still working closely with the family, and we’re very interested in talking with anyone who has any information that will help us find out what happened to Lael.”

In addition to talking to people in town, Sexton conducted interviews in Soldotna and Washington state over the past few months, following up on tips. Those with information may contact police at 747-3245.

Burkhouse said her family, including cousins and other relatives in Sitka, keep up hope the case will be resolved. She said her sister is always on her mind.

“I’m constantly thinking about it,” Burkhouse said.

Grant was born and raised in Sitka. Burkhouse said her sister’s hobbies here included indoor plants and weaponry - such as bows and arrows - and spending time with her sons Damien, 13, and Izaac, 10, and friends and family.

Burkhouse, seven years older than Grant, was close to her sister as they grew up, and as adults Grant still looked to her big sister for advice, Burkhouse said.

Burkhouse and her family have offered a $10,000 reward for information that leads to solving the case. Burkhouse said those who don’t want to call police can contact her on her cell in Juneau, at 907-209-3880.

“We just need closure,” Burkhouse said.

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