Alaska Beat

Napakiak man, 21, charged in cab death in Bethel

A grand jury has charged a 21-year-old man with several felonies, including murder and robbery, in connection with the recent death of a Bethel cab driver.

The six charges facing 21-year-old Kyle Motgin of Napakiak include first- and second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and vehicle theft, according to a story by KTUU.

Young Suk Chong, 54, vanished on Jan. 31. Chong was found dead the next day in her Taxi Cab Co. vehicle near the village dump at Napakiak, about 15 miles from Bethel, that story reports.

"Bethel Superior Court set Motgin's bail at $500,000," troopers said in a press release. "Motgin remains incarcerated at Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center."

Chong was originally from South Korea, KYUK radio in Bethel has reported.

Bethel is famous for its international fleet of cab drivers. But it can be a tough, dangerous job. Cab drivers there deal with everything from kids throwing stones and smashing windows to drunks peeing on their floors.

Another cab driver, named Ju Young Joung and known as J.J., was shot in his cab outside a Bethel grocery store in late 2006. No one was ever charged in that death.

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or