2017's Unsolved Homicides

Courtesy: MGN Online
Courtesy: MGN Online(KNOE)
Published: Aug. 16, 2018 at 6:51 PM AKDT
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Police have yet to solve the deaths of ten people who died in Anchorage in 2017 -- about 25 percent of the total homicide count for that year.

Of the city's 39 homicides in 2017, two have been classified as self defense; two others were officer-involved shootings, according to Alaska State Troopers, the agency that compiles statewide crime statistics.

That leaves 35 deaths police worked to solve. According to data Anchorage Police provided to Channel Two on Thursday, most of the cases have been closed. Ten remain unsolved.

Police declined to talk about the unsolved murders, which show up in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for Alaska, released earlier this week, in a line item for criminal homicides.

In data provided by the police department, 27 of the 39 deaths are listed as closed cases. But the UCR shows only 16 arrests -- 15 adults and one juvenile.

Jonathon Taylor, communications director for the Alaska Department of Public Safety, said discrepancies can happen because under state law local police departments may define homicide differently than the federal crime report.

Unsolved crimes with homicides from 2017 are:

Feb. 15, 2017 - The fire at the Royal Suites Lodge during which three people, Vivian Hall, Teuaililo Nua and Laura Kramer, died.

June 8, 2018 - The stabbing of Kyle Andrew Rea near Bean's Cafe.

June 28, 2017 - The stabbing of Dennis Joshua Heimdahl, also near Bean's Cafe.

August 9, 2017 - The death of Patricia Ann Phelps, killed after being struck by a vehicle near 26th Ave. and Wyoming Street.

August 14, 2017 - The shooting death of Jonathan Clyde Smith, near Muldoon and Debarr.

August 20, 2017 - The death in a Government Hill apartment of Brianna Brown.

December 2, 2017 - The shooting death of Brandon Irlmeier in Muldoon near east 6th Ave. and Oklahoma Street.

December 3, 2017 - The shooting death of Joshua Statham near 68th Ave. and Lake Otis Parkway.

Through a spokesperson, Anchorage Police declined to talk about the unsolved cases, citing the ongoing nature of the investigations.

In a comment by email, Renee Oistad, who is with the department's community relations team, told Channel 2 that "...in a large percentage of uncharged homicides, the issue is that witnesses have refused to speak with police and share what they know."