Who are the Anchorage homeless people classified as ‘outdoor deaths?’

Anchorage police say 14 people have died “outdoors” already this year.
FastCast digital headlines for Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 11:27 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - On Jan. 25, 2023, Anchorage police responded to a call on DeBarr Street. A man was unconscious behind a building. It would turn out to be the first death Anchorage police would classify as an “outdoor death” this year.

Nick Queenie, 49, was declared dead at the scene.

Anchorage police have a very specific definition of “outdoor deaths.” The department only counts those unsheltered homeless people who are found deceased outside and have no fixed address. The department does not count those who had indoor living space at the time of death. It also does not count anyone who was taken to a hospital, but passed away later.

So far, the official police report list 14 outdoor deaths this year. That puts Anchorage outdoor deaths statistically well ahead of recent years. In all of 2022, 24 outdoor deaths were reported.

On Jan. 28, 35-year-old Christine Michael was found unresponsive outside the Ben Boeke Ice Arena. She was declared dead at the scene.

Edwin Zackar, 44, was found dead in the woods near East 23rd Avenue and A Street early in the morning on Feb. 4.

On March 9, police were called to Clark Middle School, where they found 71-year-old Sam Teayoumeak lying on a bleacher. Officers reported the man was deceased.

On the afternoon of March 12, police were called to a wooded area behind Lowe’s on Tudor Road where they were told a man who lived in a tent there was being given CPR. Medics later declared 53-year-old John Drescher deceased.

Late in the afternoon of April 1, on the 3400 block of Tudor Road, police were called to a wooded area where they found a man they noted had been “deceased for some time.” He was identified as 40-year-old Nicholas Cooper.

On the afternoon of April 3, police found a deceased male in a sleeping bag at the 2100 block of Seward Highway. He was identified as 64-year-old Sakar Alexie.

At about 10 p.m. on April 13, police were called to investigate an unconscious man inside a car at the 100 block of Bragaw Street. Police found 54-year-old Jeremia Seui dead inside the vehicle.

In the morning hours of April 17, police were called to check on a man lying in a ditch at Glenn Highway and Muldoon Road. When officers arrived, they found 63-year-old Nelson Alexie deceased.

Officers were called to a residential driveway in the afternoon of April 18 to check on a man in the 4500 block of Ames Avenue who had been given permission to sleep in a vehicle by the owner of the vehicle. The man, 64-year-old Harvey Koweluk, was dead.

On the morning of April 23, police responded to a call about an unconscious man found lying on the ground in a parking lot in the 400 block of West Fireweed Lane. Fredrick Ozenna III, 45, was declared dead.

Nikki Deen, 51, was found deceased under a bridge in the area of East Third Avenue and A Street on the evening of April 28. Police said there was “nothing suspicious” about her death.

In the afternoon of April 30, police were called to Campbell Creek near Dr. MLK JR Ave. and Elmore Road. Their report indicates an adult male was found dead there. The next of kin have not yet been notified.

On the morning of May 8, police received calls about a number of people sleeping under the overpass at 23rd Avenue and A Street. When they arrived, they determined an adult female was dead on the scene. Her next of kin have not yet been notified.

Each of these 14 police outdoor death reports included one line in common.

“Nothing suspicious was noted at the scene.”

KTUU has only provided the names of the deceased after Anchorage police confirmed that next of kin had been notified.