Wasilla teacher found dead near relative’s home

Alaska State Troopers.
Alaska State Troopers.(KTVF)
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 5:34 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A Wasilla man was found dead Thursday after being reported missing the day before, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

Michael Backus, 40, was found dead a short distance from a family member’s home near Wasilla Fishhook Road on Thursday morning, according to an online trooper dispatch report. At the time of his death, he was a teacher at Teeland Middle School in Wasilla, confirmed Jillian Morrissey, public information officer for Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.

Backus was reported missing to troopers just before 9 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the dispatch report. He had last been seen at a family member’s home near Wasilla Fishhook Road around 8 p.m. on Tuesday, said Austin McDaniel, public information officer with the troopers.

According to the dispatch report, troopers made a welfare check at the family member’s home, where Backus had been staying but did not find him. Troopers were able to obtain his cell phone location, but it did not reveal “conclusive results as to his location.”

“(Troopers) conducted a hasty search of the area” using a helicopter, troopers wrote but did not fund Backus. When he still did not return, a more thorough ground search was organized and Backus’ body was found shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday “a short distance from the residence,” troopers wrote.

No foul play is suspected at this time, and Backus’ family has been notified, according to the dispatch.

At this time, troopers do not believe Backus was hiking or recreating in the area before his death, McDaniel said via email.

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