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Woman Murdered, Husband Charged

(Fairbanks, AK) Twenty-five-year-old Kayla Kugtsun was found dead at her home in Fairbanks Sunday, and her husband: 24-year-old Endeavor Riley is charged with first degree murder.

A charging document says Riley called police and reported finding Kugtsun unresponsive early Sunday morning. He told officers he and Kugtsun had been out drinking overnight and he did not remember what happened after they got home.

Police say they found a note, which appeared to have been written by Kugtsun, saying she planned to file for divorce.

Kugtsun had bruises on her neck and an apparent skull fracture as well as other injuries, and had texted her sister and others earlier in the morning, about being assaulted by Riley.

Police say neighbors in an upstairs apartment reported hearing the couple arguing and loud noises.

Riley told police he was arrested last summer for hitting Kugtsun. A court records search shows Riley pleaded guilty to a domestic violence related criminal mischief charge in July 2022.

A spokesperson for the 11 Airborne Division confirmed that Riley is a Ft. Wainwright based soldier.

Kugtsun was from the Southwest Alaska village of Kwigillingok and a University of Alaska Fairbanks student and employee. A letter from UAF chancellor Dan White to the university community says Kugtsun had previously earned a business degree and was a student at the Community and Technical College while also working for UA human resources.