Examiner: Remains belong to Douglas man

Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2003

Bones found in a ravine near Vista Drive Sunday were identified Wednesday as the remains of Thomas Everett Gardner, who has been missing from his 1789 Douglas Highway apartment less than a mile away since March 10, Juneau Police reported.

The Office of the Medical Examiner in Anchorage made the identification through dental records, according to Juneau Police Sgt. John Boltjes. He said the nearest relative also was notified by Anchorage authorities Wednesday.

Gardner, 42, was discovered missing after a bus driver for the Tlingit-Haida Head Start program went to his residence to ask why his 5-year-old daughter had not been to preschool for a few days.

Police found that his daughter, Alexa, had spent most of the previous three days sitting by the window looking for her father to come home.

Aside from his daughter, Gardner reportedly had no family or close friends in Juneau, police reported during the search. He also reportedly was on medication for a mental illness.

But Gardner also was described as a good father who would volunteer at his daughter's preschool.

Alexa's mother reportedly lived in Anchorage in March. No information about the child's current whereabouts was available Wednesday. She had been placed in the custody of the Division of Family and Youth Services after her father's disappearance.

Police, state troopers and SEADOGS - Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search - unsuccessfully looked for Gardner after he was reported missing.

Gardner's remains were found by a jogger cutting through the woods at the end of a nearby trail about 100 yards south of the Crest Condominiums on Vista Drive.

Gardner's cause of death could not be determined, police reported. His bones had been scattered by animals. However, police determined that the investigation of his disappearance and the scene where his remains were found did not suggest foul play.

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