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Body of Bethel man found and identified

Katie Basile

On March 16, a couple of hunters who were out ptarmigan hunting found a body on the tundra between Bethel and Napakiak. Bethel Police Lieutenant Christopher Wigner said that the department had help from Bethel Search and Rescue.

“Due to the location, Bethel Search and Rescue responded to the location and were able to find the hunters and the body, at which time we determined that it was inside of our jurisdiction. Investigator Smith responded out there and we recovered the body. And we were able to actually do an identification. Identification was through medical records through the dental and the fingerprint, the crime lab, and we're in the process of trying to notify the next of kin at that time,” Wigner stated in an previous interview.

Bethel Police Department did put out a press release, and the next of kin has been notified. Out of respect for the community and the family KYUK will not air the name, but the deceased was a 23-year-old Alaska Native male. The death appears to be weather-related.

“The investigation is still ongoing. There appears to be nothing of concern. At this time it appears possibly to be a weather-related death, but like I said, right now that this case is still ongoing so we're waiting for the report to come back from the medical examiner," Wigner said.

Francisco Martínezcuello is the KYUK News Reporting Fellow and a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Journalism. He is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.