Police: Convicted killer Joshua Wade may have more victims

Jill Burke

The Anchorage Police Department has scheduled a press conference Friday morning to talk about whether convicted killer Joshua Wade, who has admitted to the murder of Della Brown and Mindy Schloss, took additional lives.

Wade, 34, is serving life in prison for the murder of Schloss, a nurse practitioner who lived in Anchorage's Sand Lake neighborhood. He was charged in both state and federal court for actions related to that crime, and the federal government had been poised to seek the death penalty. By taking a plea deal and admitting to the death of Brown, for which he was acquitted in 2003, Wade avoided the death penalty but was sentenced to life in prison. If for any reason Wade should be let out of jail on the state murder conviction, he would immediately start serving a life sentence for the carjacking that ended with Schloss' death.

Until February of this year, Wade had been serving out his life sentence at the state-run Spring Creek Correctional Facility in Seward. But later that same month he was transferred into federal custody, according to the Alaska Department of Corrections. Records with the Federal Bureau of Prisons indicate Wade is now in a medium security men's federal corrections institution in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Anchorage police offered little information Thursday about why Wade is again on their radar, saying only that city and federal investigators and state and federal prosecutors "are investigating whether Joshua Wade may have caused the deaths of persons in addition to Della Brown and Mindy Schloss."

In 2010, Wade admitted to the 2007 killing of Schloss and to the 2000 killing of Brown. After kidnapping Schloss, his next-door neighbor, in the middle of the night and forcing her to give him her ATM card and PIN, he drove her north to a isolated cul-de-sac in Wasilla, marched her into the woods and shot her in the back of the head with a .45 caliber Glock. Brown died after Wade smashed her skull with a rock in a Spenard shed. Although he beat charges that he raped and murdered Brown, Wade did serve time for tampering with evidence, the result of bringing his friends back to the shed to see her body. Over the years, Wade has been characterized by police and prosecutors as a sexual predator, someone with a habit of targeting defenseless women. It is a label he has denied.

The Anchorage Police Department referred questions to the Alaska Department of Law, which declined to elaborate. Assistant attorney general John Novak wouldn't discuss whether Wade is implicated in the killing of other women, if he'll face new charges or why he's been transferred into federal custody, saying more will become clear at Friday's press conference. Rich Curtner, Wade's defense attorney, also declined comment.

Reach Jill Burke at jill@alaskadispatch.com.