Alaska News

Kodiak boy missing for over a week died of hypothermia, troopers say

A 7-year-old Kodiak boy who was missing on the island for over a week died of hypothermia, brought on by exposure to outdoor elements, Alaska State Troopers say.

Sawyer Cipolla disappeared from his home May 7, igniting a widespread search effort. The boy, who was on the autism spectrum, was found dead on Sunday near the Kodiak Electric Association wind turbine power project on Pillar Mountain, about 3 1/2 miles as the crow flies from his home. His body was spotted by people using binoculars to conduct a bird survey.

After reviewing “all of the facts and evidence,” troopers said in an online report that they determined Cipolla died of hypothermia and that there were no indications of foul play. A preliminary report from the state medical examiner corroborates that finding, troopers said.

In their updated report, troopers thanked the “thousands of volunteers, dozens of agencies, businesses, and organizations” that came together to search for Cipolla during the eight days before his body was found.

Search coordinators estimated that more than 2,500 people scoured the trails and steep terrain of a roughly 15-square-mile area of the island. Numerous agencies from outside Kodiak joined in the search as well, including the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy SEALs.