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Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2003

Two young brothers die on same day

NOME - Two young brothers died on the same day - a baby was found not breathing and, hours later, his older brother was hit by a sport utility vehicle, Nome police said Friday.

"It is a very sad story," said Police Chief Ralph Taylor. "The first brother who died was a newborn infant."

Taylor said Catherine Kakaruk, the children's mother, discovered upon waking Thursday morning that her 6-day-old son, Brandon Kakaruk, was not breathing. The baby was sleeping in the bed with his mother.

Edward Kakaruk, the father, called 911 and the infant was rushed to Norton Sound Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 10 a.m., Taylor said.

The baby's body was sent Thursday night to the medical examiner's office in Anchorage for an autopsy.

About 612 hours later, the mother called police to report that her 3-year-old son had been hit by a vehicle. Jacob Kakaruk was struck after running into the street near where he lived, Taylor said.

An ambulance crew rushed to the scene, with police arriving first and performing CPR until the ambulance could arrive. The boy also was taken to Norton Sound Regional Hospital, where doctors couldn't save him, Taylor said.

The SUV was driven by Bernie Larsen, 50, of Nome. Taylor said an investigation was under way to determine if charges should be filed. The information will be forwarded to the district attorney, he said.

Man charged with felony in cell escape

FORT YUKON - A Fort Yukon man is accused of unlocking the door to a village holding cell and allowing the escape of a man he had been hired to guard, police said.

Phillip M. Solomon, 44, was charged last week in the June 7 incident, said police Sgt. Todd Schlumbohm.

Fort Yukon police hire village residents to serve as guards for the holding cell in the village's state building. The position pays about $13 an hour.

"We need to keep someone in jail, but we need to keep our officers on the streets," Schlumbohm said.

The man who escaped had been arrested because his parole on a drunken-driving manslaughter conviction in Anchorage had been revoked, Schlumbohm said.

The man, whose name was not released, had run once from officers and was later picked up at a home in this village, 145 miles northeast of Fairbanks, Schlumbohm said.

Solomon, who had worked as jail guard before, was then brought in to watch the man until an airplane arrived to take him to Anchorage.

The escapee was captured about six hours after he fled the cell, said investigator Chris DeLeon.

Schlumbohm said that it took until last week to charge Solomon because police had to interview several witnesses, and Solomon had left town a couple of times after he realized he could be in trouble.



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