Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Two teens suspected in vandalism spree

JUNEAU - Felony charges are reportedly pending against two 18-year-old men suspected of breaking vehicle windows in more than 20 separately reported incidents last week.

Officers interviewed both Monday at the police station and released them, according to police. Sgt. Dave Campbell reported that both could face charges of third-degree criminal mischief.

Police began getting reports Thursday morning from people saying vehicle windows had been broken. Many of the incidents were reported from the Mendenhall Valley, with one in the Skater's Cabin area near Mendenhall Lake and several on the airport side of Egan Drive.

Police estimated that total damage from the vandalism reports exceeded $6,000.

Men who disappeared presumed dead

JUNEAU - Two men who disappeared in November while crabbing near Horse Island were presumed dead by a Juneau District Court jury Monday.

Nicholas Arthur Mayer of Juneau and James Charles Metlicka of Eagle River were lost after Metlicka's 26-foot boat, the Julie K, capsized in rough waters.

District Magistrate John W. Sivertsen Jr. presided over Monday's hearing after their parents filed petitions to declare the friends presumed dead.

In a letter to the court, Mayer's mother, Linda Mayer, wrote that her son had been hunting since he was 12 and always observed safe practices in outdoor activities. "He enjoyed life, and I will miss him to my last breath."

Metlicka's father, Thomas Allen Metlicka, wrote that he believes the friends were pulling a crab pot on board the boat when it became hung up on the bottom, and they tied it off before a wave overturned the boat.

In addition to the Alaska State Troopers and the Coast Guard searching for two days, Gene and Sandy Ralston brought sonar equipment from Kuna, Idaho, in December to look for Mayer and Metlicka without success.

Former Nome officer accused of murder takes stand

NOME - Former Nome Police officer Matthew Owens took the stand in his murder trial Tuesday and denied killing a teenager and stealing a patrol car to throw investigators off his trail.

Under questioning from his attorney, James McComas, Owens denied shooting and killing 19-year-old Sonya Ivanoff in August 2003.

Owens said he had no contact with Ivanoff outside of a professional context, at the hospital where she worked.

Owens is on trial for first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

Sonya Ivanoff was a star basketball player and honor roll student in Unalakleet before moving to Nome, where she worked as a secretary.

Her body was found Aug. 13, 2003, next to a dead-end trail near a gravel pit. She had been shot in the back of the head.

The trial began Jan. 18 and prosecutors rested their case last week.

Witnesses early in the trial testified they saw Ivanoff walking along a Nome street during early morning hours two days before she was found dead. They said a Nome police car appeared as she was walking and Ivanoff spoke to someone through the passenger side window, then stepped into the police car.

Owens testified he never gave Ivanoff a ride in his patrol car or otherwise had any contact with her from such a vehicle.

He did acknowledge giving personal friends unauthorized ride-alongs a couple of times per week.

Teller woman dies in snowmobile accident in near whiteout

NOME - A Teller woman died after the sled in which she was being towed went down a 14-foot drop.

Marirose Magby, 25, died from injuries suffered Saturday.

Alaska State Troopers said the accident occurred in near-whiteout conditions.

Marirose Magby and her husband, Joel, 39, left Teller on Saturday for a trip to Nome. Teller is a community of about 250 people 72 miles northwest of Nome.

Joel Magby drove the snowmobile and Marirose rode in a 14-foot basket sled, troopers said.

The weather deteriorated and they encountered near-whiteout conditions. They turned around and tried to return to Teller but drove off the 14-foot bluff.

Marirose Magby was not wearing a helmet and struck her face on hardpack snow, troopers said.

Her husband attempted CPR but could not resuscitate her.

Joel Magby loaded her into the sled and tried to drive to Teller but became lost in the blowing snow and eventually stuck.

Nome troopers were notified of the overdue couple at 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Volunteers began a search and located the Magbys eight miles outside of Teller.

Marirose Magby was taken to the Teller Clinic and pronounced dead.

Troopers found the crash scene and said no foul play was suspected.

Mushers warned of escaped buffalo

FAIRBANKS - Mushers near Fairbanks were warned to drive with caution after a domesticated buffalo broke out of a pen and was believed to be wandering trails.

"Buffy" escaped Sunday night near Alaska Dog Mushers Association trails north of the city. Her owners said she may be wandering the trails.

"She doesn't like to go through deep snow. She's probably on those trails," said Jeanette Van Bueren. The 10-acre farm that she operates with her husband, Edo, is about a mile away. "Hopefully, she knows where her hay is. We'll see how smart she is."

As of Tuesday afternoon, no one had spotted the animal, Edo Van Bueren said.

A moose knocked down a section of chain link fence Sunday night, and Buffy evidently followed the moose's trail, Edo Van Bueren said.

"She's followed moose before," he said.

The Van Buerens called Alaska State Troopers, the University of Alaska Fairbanks police, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the borough animal shelter to report Buffy missing.

Jonni Roos, executive director of the Alaska Dog Mushers' Association, sent out an e-mail Monday to mushers who use association trails, warning them to keep their eyes out for Buffy, along with the usual moose.

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