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An update on the search for Michael Isaac

 20-year-old Michael Isaac
20-year-old Michael Isaac

On Nov. 2, Michael Isaac went missing. Two weeks later the search is ongoing. The 20-year-old from Marshall had come to Bethel the day before and wasn’t able to find accommodation for the night. Late at night, he was looking for a place to spend the night with his brother. They met two people and went back to a house near the boat harbor. Isaac was seen on video surveillance leaving that residential area around 6 a.m. and hasn’t been seen since. His glasses, cap, and tribal ID were found in a shed beside the residence where he was last seen. Bethel Police Department (BPD) and Bethel Search and Rescue (BSAR) have been investigating.

KYUK spoke to Jackie George, President of Marshall Search and Rescue and Isaac’s uncle, who brought a crew with six others from Marshall to help with the search. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jackie George: I'm Jack George with the Marshall Search and Rescue.

Sunni Bean: And what have you been up to?

George: Well these past three days we've been pretty much sweeping the slough area where he was last known to be. We do have an address where he was at. We've been working our way, checking out that slough area and working our way into town, checking all abandoned homes, old sheds, old stuff like that.

Bean: And what have you guys found so far? Found of significance?

George: Well, we work closely with Bethel Search and Rescue. There was video surveillance from one residential area down at Slough. We did recognize Michael Isaac passing through the residential area, and not too long later there was two guys on bikes, bicycles, that went in his direction. It looks like he was talking to them as he was leaving that area. And who would leave his glasses, his cap, and his tribal ID there? And he would not do this. He would not do this. He would not leave without these items.

Bean: And is there a reason people think that those two, the video with him going by and the people afterwards, are related? Or just because it's the same place?

George: It's because of the same residential area.

Bean: Yeah, and what's happening with that video footage? Are you guys working on finding out who was in the video?

George: We recognize him. We don't know who the other two guys are. BPD may have an idea. Bethel Search and Rescue may have an idea. But since we're not from here, we don't know who those two guys are.

We don't know the status. With Michael, what what's going on. We don't know too much information. Only because BPD have the case. I am hoping troopers can take over the case.

Sunni Bean: Why would you prefer it be the troopers?

Jackie George: Well, they have resources that we can be utilizing right now. And they're very, pretty much informational people that will work with us. This is the first time I'm working with BPD. And we're not hearing nothing from them. And it's kind of a stressful situation where we want to know certain things. My family want to know certain things.

Bean: And so far, it seems like the search for search and rescue has mostly been in the east side of Bethel. Is that correct?

George: Yes, inside of Bethel limits.

Bean:  And on the east end, kind of, is it sort of moving west now? I noticed at the meeting last night there was, like, this whole section sort of around the seawall, the slough, that had been thoroughly passed over by different members.

Yes, we're moving into town now. Looking at all areas in Bethel.

Bean:  Okay, yeah. So it's sort of are there different zones or regions that you kind of check off? Like you're like, okay, we’ve completed that section. Or is there sort of like a method to where you kind of go?

George: Yes, we will go by sections every day. We will try to check off areas that the Bethel Search and Rescue did not complete. We check those off. And then we will move on to a different part of town. We focus on those areas that Bethel Search and Rescue did not complete. We'll go over them. Sometimes we'll go with them a couple times in a day, just to make sure. Yes, that's the only way we will clear off any searches we do we clear off that area. And then we'll move on. Yes.

Bean: Well, what do you think is the most important thing for the community to understand right now?

George: If residents can please check their properties and lands and see if they find anything in their own lots. Yeah, basically look over your property, double check.

There's a lot of video or surveillance footage out there, and if I can ask businesses or private properties if they have their surveillances recorded since the morning of Nov. 2. If they could review them, and look at them, and see if there's Michael after 6 a.m. You know, let us know.

Bean: And you knew Michael. Did you say he was your cousin?

George: He’s my nephew

Bean: What was he like?

George: He is a loving, caring young guy. He did not know the dangers Bethel can bring you late at night. He just got paid for all summer’s worth of firefighting money. Just a young, caring, loving guy.

Bean: How's the community doing right now?

George: Everybody's hoping and praying we'll find him. I've been getting a lot of calls and people messaging me that we just find him and bring him home.

Yeah. Really tough situation. Right now, I never thought about this. Where I'd be here in Bethel looking for my own family. You know we have traditional qanruyutet. Traditional rules that everytime we search for someone. We have rules we abide by, traditional rules. In this case, we really need to push more, like, hope we have more people helping us search for him.

And I only have brought six other guys with me from Marshall to help Bethel Search and Rescue search for Michael. And that's all we can do is try to find him. It is tough. It is hard. But, you know, in all search and rescues we have to bring a closure. We try to bring closure to every case. But this is not Michael. He will not go without a day calling his mom and dad or his baby girl.

You heard my frustration yesterday.

Bean: Yeah.

George: We feel like we're being neglected. Like nobody cares about the situation. And we, this past summer, we did a very extensive search for Kimberly in our village. We felt like we were neglected too from the state, and I was really trying to push for that to have be known.

George said that he’s grateful for the help of Bethel Search and Rescue and the six volunteers who came with him from Marshall. He’s also requesting the assistance of other villages to help in the search. Bethel Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the search. The volunteers are accepting food or monetary donations at Bethel Search and Rescue.

Sunni is a reporter and radio lover. Her favorite part of the job is sitting down and having a good conversation.