Man found dead on Benson Boulevard identified, questions still remain

APD spokesperson won’t comment on internal review regarding how situation was handled
Police have released the name of the man found dead and lying near the intersection of Benson Boulevard and A Street on Dec. 29.
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 6:57 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Police have released the name of the man found dead and lying near the intersection of Benson Boulevard and A Street on Dec. 29, 2022.

The man was identified as 63-year-old Roger Williams.

There are still questions surrounding how Anchorage police handled the situation. While Williams’ body was lying on the street, Alaska’s News Source cameras captured video of someone walking up to it, even though it was covered by a white sheet.

At the time, there were no visible signs that police had secured the area. While three Anchorage police officers sat inside their cruisers, someone else apparently walked up and rummaged through the backpack next to Williams’ body. Officers then got out and made the person return the items he had taken. We asked whether this type of behavior was acceptable to the department.

“The medical examiner responded to the scene and determined that the death was not criminal in nature and released the body to a funeral home,” the department said in an email to Alaska’s News Source. “The scene your team witnessed and videoed was after it was determined that the death was not criminal and officers were waiting for a funeral home to pick up the body. APD will conduct (an) internal review of our policies and procedures to ensure sensitivity around situations like this are addressed.”

Anchorage police also told Alaska’s News Source this is not considered an outdoor death.

“The outdoor death list refers to non-criminal deaths that have occurred outdoors and the deceased person did not have a fixed address at the time of death,” APD said.

The department said that is not the case in this situation, meaning Williams apparently had a fixed address.

Anchorage police won’t release Williams’ exact date of birth or any additional details. Though there are many people with the name Roger Williams in Anchorage, Alaska’s News Source could only find one that matches his description in online records. Using that information, Alaska’s News Source called and emailed Williams’ potential relatives but received no response.

Alaska’s News Source reached out to the state medical examiner to ask if they determined a cause of death but we’re told that information is not available to the public.