Alaska News

California woman found dead on Aleutian island

Described by a friend as an avid traveler who went where the work took her, Yuliana Zazueta ventured to Alaska from California to support her world adventures and her family. But on Wednesday, the 30-year-old Bakersfield woman was found dead on the Aleutian island of Akutan.

Few details were immediately available, but Alaska State Troopers said Thursday that foul play isn't suspected in Zazueta's death.

An islandwide search for Zazueta began Tuesday, when she didn't arrive for work at the Trident Seafoods processing plant, troopers reported in an online dispatch.

Zazueta's sense of adventure brought her from California to the village of Akutan, which has a year-round population of fewer than 100 people.

Guadalupe Garcia had been friends with Zazueta since their sixth-grade year in Bakersfield. Garcia said you never knew where Zazueta would end up next -- but she was always seeing the world.

"(S)he never mentioned anywhere until she all of a sudden called from Arizona, or Sacramento, or anywhere she would decide to move to," Garcia said.

Garcia said working at Trident suited Zazueta because it gave her time off to travel and to visit family and friends in California.

Last year, Zazueta traveled to Guatemala and Belize. Just a few weeks before her death, she was climbing Machu Picchu in Peru, Garcia said.

"Yuliana was pretty fearless and adventurous," Garcia said. "She never waited for friends to have time to travel with her; she would take off and always met new friends in her travels."

The circumstances of her death haven't been released, but Garcia said Zazueta had been hiking before she died. Trooper spokesperson Timothy Despain said he couldn't immediately confirm that detail.