Military police looking for a soldier who failed to report for duty Monday found his wife and baby daughter shot to death in their South Anchorage home, and a short time later Anchorage police found the soldier there too, suffering a life-threatening wound.
The soldier, a 21-year-old military policeman identified as Spc. Kip Lynch, serves with the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, at Fort Richardson. Just two months ago, he returned from the brigade's year-long deployment in Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border.
Lynch and his 19-year-old wife, Racquell Lynch, and their 8-month old daughter, Kyirsta Lynch, lived off base in the South Anchorage apartment just east of the intersection of the Old Seward Highway and East 100th Ave. After police discovered the gruesome scene, Lynch, of Jacksonville, Fla., was taken by ambulance in critical condition to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery for serious gunshot injuries.
Lynch joined the Army in September 2007 and returned with his unit from a one-year tour of duty in Afghanistan in February, Army spokesman Chuck Canterbury said.
Detectives had not yet determined whether the incident was a murder-suicide attempt or whether a killer came from outside the home, police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said. Police were not looking for any suspects, Parker said.
Crime scene investigators arrived shortly before 10 a.m. and were still on scene along the Old Seward Highway collecting evidence into the evening. Parker said there did not appear to be signs of forced entry into the home.
The three were discovered about 7:30 a.m. in the 9900 block of William Jones Circle after Lynch failed to report for work, Parker said.
Two military police officers went to the soldier's home and contacted the landlord, who let them in after they knocked on the door and got no answer, he said.
The officers found the woman and child in one part of the house, realized they were in a crime scene and left to call police, Parker said. Anchorage police have authority for incidents involving soldiers off-base, though military police may assist or conduct parallel investigations for the Army.
The landlord called police and reported the two had been shot and killed, Parker said. Anchorage police officers arriving on the scene searched the home and found the soldier in another area.
It wasn't clear when the incident took place. Parker said Army officials reported seeing Lynch last week, but detectives had not yet determined when the shootings happened.
Several neighbors who live in the eight-plex said they didn't hear anything out of the ordinary.
Lynch joined the Army in September 2007 and went to boot camp at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., before being stationed at Fort Richardson in March 2008, Canterbury said. His unit deployed to Afghanistan in February and March of 2009 and finished returning last month.
After a welcome-home ceremony at Sullivan Arena late last month, soldiers from the unit were cut loose for a month of leave. According to Kip Lynch's Facebook page, his family went down to Arizona and California in that time. Less than a week ago, Lynch posted pictures of the smiling family at a zoo, with Kyirsta sitting on a horse and feeding a giraffe and grinning in her father's arms. His daughter's name was tattooed on his left bicep.
Kip Lynch's mother, Terri Lynch, of Jacksonville, Fla., said she was flying to Anchorage today and didn't know much about what happened. She declined to comment further.
The deaths are the seventh and eighth homicides in Anchorage this year.
Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call 257-4589.
By JAMES HALPIN and ELIZABETH BLUEMINK
Anchorage Daily News