Friends find Mass' body

Troopers find no sign of foul play, say she apparently died of exposure

Posted: Sunday, February 13, 2005

The body of Rebecca Mass was found in the woods near the end of the North Douglas Highway on Saturday afternoon.

She apparently died of exposure, Alaska State Troopers said. There were no signs of foul play.

Mass, 46, went missing Jan. 16. Troopers suspended the formal search on Jan. 20, but friends of Mass periodically looked for her after that.

A dog accompanying a party of three men and a woman, who knew Mass, found her body under the snow at about 1 p.m., said Aaron Logan, one of the searchers.

Mass was found west of Peterson Creek and north of the new power line.

"If it weren't for the dog, we wouldn't have found her," Logan said.

Friends of Mass and members of Juneau Mountain Rescue carried Mass' body to the road in a container and held a vigil until the mortuary van arrived at about 4 p.m.

As on the day Mass went missing, it was snowing.

After conferring with the state medical examiner's office, Trooper Mark Granda said there will not be an autopsy.

Mass does not have relatives in Juneau, Granda said.

Her 10-year-old son, Aidan, is now living with his father, a doctor from the Los Angeles area who is in the Army Reserve and is on active duty in Germany, said Mike Dilger, a close friend of Mass.

Mass, an attorney who lived on Douglas Island, served as an advocate for children in custody cases and practiced family law, Dilger said. She moved to Juneau in 1994.

"I always felt she really had the kids in mind as people, not just something to be bargained over," he said.

Mass was often to be seen with her son at school events or other activities for children, such as with the Cub Scouts.

"I thought she had a wonderful heart," Dilger said. "Everybody knew how she was so devoted to her son. And most everything she did was in some form a sacrifice to give him everything she could.

Dilger said TEMSCO Helicopters donated helicopter time to Mass friends in their private searches after the formal search had ended. Dilger himself spent part of Saturday in a skiff looking along the beach.

She loved going out to beaches, Sandy Beach and Auke Rec, in the summer with Aidan, for lunches and stuff, he said.

Eric Fry can be reached at eric.fry@juneauempire.com.



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