Body found at mine campsite

Body one of three discovered near downtown in last week

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2002

Police are trying to identify an elderly man whose partially decomposed body was recovered Thursday evening at a campsite on Mount Roberts above South Franklin Street.

Police responded to a campsite near the Alaska-Juneau gold mine ruins around 7 p.m. after a person walking through the area reported seeing a body. Police found the remains of the man, who they believe was in his 70s, near an area where it appeared he had been camping.

Sgt. David Campbell said police have an idea who the man was. The cause of death is not known.

"We didn't see anything unusual like bullet or knife wounds or anything that would make us think foul play was involved," Campbell said.

He also said he didn't know if the man's body would undergo an autopsy.

Police believe the man has been dead since January because of "some dated material" found at his campsite and the state of decomposition of the body.

Campbell said homeless people camp in the area, but police have not determined whether the man was homeless.

This is the third body recovered in Juneau since Saturday. Police do not suspect any connection between the death of the man recovered Thursday and the deaths of Dana White, 45, whose body was found in Gastineau Channel on Saturday morning and Kathleen Fawcett, 39, whose body was found in Gold Creek on Tuesday afternoon.

Sgt. John Boltjes said police did not conduct an autopsy on White, but preliminary autopsy results for Fawcett determined she drowned.

"We conducted an autopsy on Fawcett because the nature of her injuries were consistent with the idea that maybe someone hit her in the head before and put her in the water," said Boltjes. "There wasn't anything suspicious about White. He really had no injuries and he had a history of seizures. There was really nothing about that one that would make you think someone had put him in the water where there was with her."

Boltjes said Fawcett sustained multiple cuts and bruises, which he said may have come from hitting rocks at the bottom of the creek.

Boltjes said police still are looking for a woman who was with Fawcett on Tuesday. So far, he said, police have found a jogger who saw Fawcett in Cope Park alone an hour before police believe she went into the water.

The toxicology reports on White and Fawcett are expected to be completed in two weeks. Autopsy results for Fawcett are expected in six weeks.

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.



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