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Michael Isaac’s father confirms his death; police investigation ongoing

The village of Marshall.
Gabby Salgado
The village of Marshall.

After an intensive month-long search, Bethel Search and Rescue found 20-year-old Michael Isaac of Marshall deceased under the ice in Brown's Slough. Isaac’s father, Jason Isaac, confirmed Michael’s death to KYUK on Dec. 7.

"According to Bethel Search and Rescue volunteers, when they pull him out of the water they said he had a bright glow. [They] said it's very rare that they see this but he had a bright glow," said Jason.

Isaac's body was sent to Anchorage for identification and an autopsy shortly after the body was found on Nov. 29. Jason said that as of Dec. 7, the autopsy results had not been shared with the family. He said that he was told to expect autopsy results within the next month and a half.

Bethel Police Chief Leonard Hicks said that the local police department has not received the autopsy either. Hicks said that Bethel Police Department's investigation into Isaac’s death is still ongoing.

Jason said that his son's body was scheduled to return to Bethel on the evening of Dec. 7 before flying back to his home village of Marshall to join his family on Dec. 8.

“My family and I, you know, we got very relieved when they found him,” Jason said. “When we found out he's coming home, finally coming home, you know, we're all anxious-feeling, finally seeing him. Because he's been away from home for over a month.”

Jason said that the family plans to spend a few days preparing before hosting Isaac's funeral. He said that the State Medical Examiner Office gave them the go-ahead to host an open casket service.

“Usually all the family and friends will go meet him at the airport and bring them home,” Jason said. “With this being the traditional funeral, village funeral, I've asked the Marshall Search and Rescue crew members, you know, to prepare his body. Wash his body before, and then they clothe him.”

According to Jason, six of Isaac's seven sisters and his one brother are in Marshall. Jason added that they're praying every day and getting help from their extended family.

“My wife and I ordered him a cross from Anchorage, made by a carpenter that's been making Orthodox crosses for many years,” Jason said. “We're hoping that it'll be here by the time [he comes].”

Jason is a priest, but he said that Maxim Isaac, Michael's great uncle, will preside over the service at St. Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church in Marshall. They hope to hold the funeral at 1 p.m. on Dec. 11.

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