Troopers identify remains of homicide victim discovered in 1989 on Fire Island

The man was last seen alive in 1979 and was identified through DNA analysis
Human remains found in 1989 identified
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:08 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska State Troopers said on Wednesday that they have identified the remains of a man who was last seen alive in 1979 and whose remains were located on Fire Island 10 years later.

Troopers reported in a press release that then-40-year-old Michael Beavers left his Chugiak home headed for Seattle, Washington, in a vehicle and was not seen again until 1989 when his remains were reported on Fire Island just west of Anchorage. Troopers reported that evidence found on the remains “indicated that the death was criminal in nature.” At the time, there was no identification of those remains.

Michael Beavers was last seen in 1979 and Troopers and Federal investigators announced that...
Michael Beavers was last seen in 1979 and Troopers and Federal investigators announced that remains found in 1989 were Beavers.(Courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

An anthropologist gave troopers an estimate at the time that they believed Beavers’ remains had been laying exposed for at least a year.

“All efforts by AST to identify the victim were unsuccessful. The victim’s remains were eventually interned at the Anchorage Municipal Cemetery,” troopers wrote.

In 2003, hair and tissue samples for the remains were sent to a Federal Bureau of Investigation lab in Virginia where a mitochondrial DNA profile was developed and entered into a national missing persons database, but no specific identification was made.

“No information was developed to indicated what had become of Beavers and the investigation was closed in 1982,” the release states. “In 1992, Beavers was officially declared deceased.”

This year, the Alaska Bureau of Investigation Cold Case Unit reopened the investigation, according to the release. Bone samples from the remains that had been retained by the State Medical Examiner’s Office were provided to Othram Inc., a private forensic DNA laboratory in Texas.

“They used forensic-grade genome sequencing to develop a comprehensive DNA profile,” troopers wrote in the release. “The profile was uploaded into a genealogy database. The profile was linked to other persons in the database, some of whom had ties to Alaska. Subsequent genealogy research by Othram and AST indicated that the victim may be Michal Allison Beavers.”

Beavers was a heavy equipment operator who owned an excavation business in Chugiak and was last seen by his spouse in 1979 as he left for Seattle.

Investigators with troopers and federal investigators contacted a close blood relative who provided a DNA sample. Troopers wrote that “subsequent DNA analysis confirmed that remains found on Fire Island were in fact those of Michael Beavers.”

The investigation into Beavers’ death is still ongoing, troopers wrote. Investigators with the Cold Case Investigation Unit are asking that anyone with information regarding the disappearance and murder of Beavers contact them at (907) 375-7728 or the main ABI number at (907) 269-5611.

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