NOME — The mother of a man murdered 15 years ago in Anchorage, possibly by convicted killer Joshua Wade, said she wants justice for her son and closure for his death.
But for now, it remains a waiting game for Arlene Soxie as police investigate claims made by a confessed killer that her son was another of his victims. She also claims the man who claimed to be her son’s murderer has been rewarded by authorities by receiving a prison transfer out of Alaska.
“One of the detectives was talking to Joshua Wade,” Soxie told KNOM of the notification she received last February. “And he confessed that he was the one that killed my son.”
“And it was like he ... like he died all over again,” Soxie said of her son, Henry Ongtowasruk, 30.
In Anchorage, state and federal authorities announced Friday that Wade had bargained information about three additional deaths, for a total of five, in order to get a transfer from a state jail to a federal prison outside Alaska. Wade also agreed to dismiss a case seeking post-conviction relief.
Officials said they didn’t care where he spent his jail term as long as he was never released, especially if it could help close other cases.
Soxie told the Nome radio station that after detectives informed her of Wade’s confession, the news made her hopeful there would be justice. But that dissipated when she learned Wade bargained the information to get a transfer out of Alaska. He’s now serving his sentence at a maximum-security prison in Indiana.
“It angered me,” Soxie said. “My son can’t speak for himself. And to know that people in the governing system, or the law, allow things like that, it’s ... it’s not right either.”
Messages left by The Associated Press on Tuesday with the Alaska attorney general’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office in Anchorage seeking comment weren’t immediately returned.
Wade was sentenced to life in prison in February 2010 in the 2007 death of Mindy Schloss, a neighbor who worked as a nurse practitioner. At the time, he also confessed to killing Della Brown in a shed in Anchorage in 2000. A jury acquitted him of murder in that case, but it convicted him of tampering with evidence.
Wade earlier this year told police and FBI investigators that he was responsible for the murder of a man in Anchorage in 1994, another man in Anchorage in 1999 and a man who was with Brown the night she was killed.
Investigators said they believe Wade is referring to the unsolved murders of Ongtowasruk in 1999, who was found strangled to death in a small room of an Anchorage motel, and John Michael Martin, 38, in 1994. There is no information about a man killed the same night as Brown, but authorities are investigating all of Wade’s claims.
“I could feel for the other family members because this is something that does not go way,” Soxie said. “And even if he did confess, it doesn’t make me feel better. It doesn’t.”