Remains found in 1997 near Canadian border identified as hunter last seen in the 70s
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Cold case investigators have identified human remains that are approximately five decades old, according to the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.
An online dispatch said that a human skull was discovered by a hunter near the Porcupine River, approximately eight miles from the Canadian Border, on July 23, 1997. The dispatch says that troopers responded to the scene, but did not find any additional remains. Troopers then sent the skull to the State Medical Examiner’s Office, and listed the suspected cause of death as a bear mauling.
In April 2022, DNA was extracted from the remains, troopers said, and cold case investigators used genetic genealogy to tentatively identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden of New York. Troopers said that Sotherden would be 71 years old today.
One of Sotherden’s relatives was contacted by investigators, and the relative provided a DNA sample.
“The relative also told AST that Gary was dropped off in the area where his remains were located sometime in the early to mid-1970s to go hunting,” the dispatch said.
The dispatch said that Sotherden’s living relative was notified on Dec. 27, 2022, that the skull was Sotherden’s and arranged for the return of his remains with the State Medical Examiner’s Office.
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