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Alaska News

Missing Anchorage man found dead in Chitina, troopers say

The body of an Anchorage man who went missing in February was found this week in the area where his vehicle went into a ditch, Alaska State Troopers said.

Ian Michael Lutz, 34, was last seen late on Feb. 1, troopers wrote in an online report. Troopers were notified he was missing late on Feb. 2 and found his vehicle just off the roadway and down a hill with the passenger side resting against trees, troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel said.

Troopers are still investigating why the vehicle left the roadway, he said. There was damage to the vehicle, but it would have still been drivable, McDaniel said.

Temperatures at the time were dropping as low as 30 degrees below zero at night and roughly 8 inches of fresh snow had fallen since Lutz had gone missing, according to McDaniel.

Troopers did a brief initial search near the vehicle the night it was discovered, but returned to the area during the daytime to conduct a more thorough search with help from wildlife troopers and village public safety officers, the statement said.

“That area was searched thoroughly by troopers,” McDaniel said. “We deployed our helicopter from Anchorage to do thermal scans of the area, we had small drones out there looking, we had multiple volunteer dog teams out there as well looking, so there was a pretty exhaustive search of the area.”

Lutz was not found and the search was suspended Feb. 8.

On Monday, a man reported that he found a body in Chitina, troopers wrote. The remains were identified as Lutz by the State Medical Examiner Office on Wednesday, troopers said.

Lutz’s body was found near a tree line about 70 yards from where the car had been discovered in February, troopers said.

There was no sign of foul play or trauma, McDaniel said. The cause of death has not yet been determined, he said.