Body discovered along trail ID'd as missing JBER airman

Anchorage Daily NewsDecember 11, 2013 

Update 12:40 p.m. Wednesday: Anchorage police have confirmed that the body found near the Basher trail head Tuesday night was that of Tanner Volkers, 22, according to an email from police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro.

Castro said relatives have been notified and police "have not found any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death." 

Volkers, an Air Force fireman, was last seen Saturday. His mother reported him missing Sunday. 

Update, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday: Anchorage police have found a male body while searching for Tanner Volkers on a trail near his pickup, police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said. Police are unable to say if the body is Volkers, as they have not yet made a positive identification of the remains and have not notified next of kin, Castro said.

Original Tuesday story:

Co-workers of an Air Force fireman last seen Saturday found his pickup at an Anchorage trailhead Tuesday afternoon, but the whereabouts of the missing man, Tanner Volkers, remained a mystery.

The coworkers, volunteer searchers and at least three police officers were scouring trails near the pickup, a black Dodge Ram parked off Basher Drive, looking for Volkers, police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said. The 22-year-old is a fireman and staff sergeant at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, according to base public affairs officials.

Volkers' roommate was the last person to report seeing him as he left their East Anchorage home, Castro said.

"He had packed up some of his belongings and left on his own," she said.

Volkers' mother reported him missing Sunday, Castro said. When asked why Volkers would be considered missing after just one day, the police spokeswoman said Volkers' family was concerned about his health issues. She declined to comment on what health problems Volker might have due to medical privacy laws.

"With this case, our concern is with his health and making sure he's safe," Castro said.

Fliers calling Volkers a missing person began circulating on Facebook late Monday and early Tuesday. Anchorage police sent reporters a written statement on the case midday Tuesday and announced several hours later that Volkers' pickup had been found parked at the Basher Drive Trailhead, off of Campbell Airstrip Road.

It was Volkers' fellow firefighters that found the black Dodge about 1 p.m. while checking places he liked to hike, Castro said. They quickly called police, she said.

"We responded and an APD search team is out now trying to locate him," Castro said about 3:30 p.m. "The truck looked like it had been sitting there for some time. The windows were iced over."

Police had no reason at that point to think Volkers was the victim of a crime, Castro said. "Obviously, as we canvas the area, we'll be looking for any details or indicators of such."

According to his Facebook page, Volkers is from Nampa, Idaho. He is a member of the 673rd Civil Engineer Group stationed at JBER since 2010, military public affairs officials said.

Police described Volkers as 5 feet 10 inches tall and 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone who has seen Volkers is asked to call Anchorage police at 786-8900 or JBER security at 552-3421.

 

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