Woman found dead in van; police say no foul play

Casey Grove

Detectives are investigating the death of a woman found in a van Sunday night in northeast Anchorage, police say.

A woman called 911 at 7:40 p.m. after finding the body of a 52-year-old woman in the van, parked in an alley off South Flower Street, police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said. The caller told police a resident of a nearby home would let the woman sleep in the van, Parker said.

"She looked into the van and there was the person," Parker said. "She described her as being 'beyond hope,' as I recall. She said she looked deceased."

The temperature in the area was in the 20s to low 30s Sunday afternoon and night, according to the National Weather Service.

Parker said initial reports from the first officers to investigate did not say why the woman who called 911 looked into the van, whether she knew the woman, or how long the woman found dead had been sleeping in the van. An autopsy will determine what caused the woman's death, police said.

The officers had no reason to believe the death was suspicious, Parker said. Still, homicide detectives will look closer, just in case, he said. Police seized the van to look for any evidence of foul play, Parker said.

"Usually we associate people sleeping in vehicles with folks who are living on the street. So I would assume that this person, at least from time to time, looked for a place like that to bed down," Parker said.

The woman's name has not been released as police try to notify her next of kin.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.