Anchorage man charged with murdering girlfriend

Police allege Hurley drove 200 miles to dump woman's body

Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2005

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man has been charged with killing his girlfriend at their apartment and transporting the body to a remote beach on the Kenai Peninsula.

Brian D. Hurley, 42, was charged Sunday with killing Isabell Matthews, 28, then driving more than 200 miles south and dumping the body near Anchor Point.

Hurley was charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. He is being held on $500,000 bail.

Prosecutors said Hurley killed Matthews on Saturday morning and used a rented red Ford Explorer to move the body.

Hurley denied the charges at his arraignment before Superior Court Judge Ron Wielkoposko.

"Not guilty, your honor," Hurley said. "My family is working on getting me an attorney."

Hurley lives in south Anchorage. One week ago, Anchorage police were called to Hurley's home after a neighbor reported that he was fighting with Matthews. Police did not find them at the home but officers impounded a vehicle belonging to Hurley that had been parked in the middle of the street.

A phone call Saturday from Hurley's mother in Washington triggered their interest in Hurley again. At about 12:15 p.m., Hurley's mother asked police to check on her son. She said he had called her and was distraught.

"She couldn't really make sense of it, and she asked us to do a welfare check," said police department spokesman Lt. Paul Honeman.

Officers found no one at Hurley's apartment but left a message on his cell phone, Honeman said.

Hurley returned the phone message around 2:20 p.m. and told police that he was OK and did not need help, Honeman said.

Meanwhile, on the Kenai Peninsula, an Anchor Point resident just before 1 p.m. called troopers to tell them that he had given gasoline to a "distraught male" driving a red Ford Explorer. The driver told the resident he "woke up next to the woman he loves and she was cold," prosecutors said.

Troopers called Anchorage police and asked them to track down the driver. The car had been rented Thursday to Hurley from an Anchorage rental agency.

A Kenai Peninsula resident collecting coal discovered Matthews' body around 4 p.m. Saturday and reported it to troopers.

The naked body was wrapped in a blanket and sheets of heavy black plastic. It was on a sled, prosecutors said. About 60 yards away, troopers found the red Explorer stuck in mud in the mouth of Stariski Creek.

The Explorer's hatchback, driver's side window and sunroof were open, and the area around the sport utility vehicle was littered with personal items and debris, including a roll of black trash bags, according to prosecutors.

After troopers discovered Matthews' body and the Explorer, Hurley called troopers and told them he had gotten his vehicle stuck in the mud.

They found him around 5 p.m. after another resident reported a suspicious person in his yard. Troopers said Hurley was missing a shoe and was wet from the waist down.

A police search of his apartment revealed sheets of black plastic covering some of the windows and spread out on box springs in a bedroom, charges said.

An autopsy was planned to determine the cause of Matthews' death.

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