The Fairbanks district attorney dropped criminal charges last week against a man alleged to have beaten, sexually abused and held captive a woman in a remote cabin after the victim — the main witness in the case — suddenly died.
Without the alleged victim's testimony, the trial against the defendant, whose legal name is Pirate, couldn't go forward, said Fairbanks District Attorney Gregg Olson.
"She was a necessary witness," Olson said Monday.
The 37-year-old defendant legally changed his name from Daniel Lloyd Selovich to Pirate in 2013. He has been in the Fairbanks jail on charges that he beat, bit, kicked and raped the woman while at his remote property near Manley Hot Springs over the course of five weeks in the fall of 2015. At one point he bound her with duct tape and put a rope around her neck to prevent her from running away, according to a trooper affidavit.
The case drew national and international attention for the brutal details of the alleged abuse as well as the defendant's unusual name and facial tattoos.
Despite the dismissal of the Alaska charges, Pirate is still being held in the Fairbanks jail on fugitive-from-justice charges stemming from an unrelated sexual assault charge out of Las Vegas, Olson said. The Las Vegas case surfaced when DNA collected from Pirate in Alaska matched up with an unsolved sexual assault case there, he said.
Pirate also has a sexual assault conviction out of California.
If Nevada does not extradite him in 90 days, he'll be released.
Fairbanks police informed Olson that the alleged victim, a 43-year-old woman, was found dead by a person she was living with on July 21. He said the woman's cause of death had not been determined but there were no signs she died of homicide or suicide.
The 11 felony charges against Pirate, including felony sex assault, kidnapping and assault, were dropped on July 28.
Olson said he didn't know if the woman had family in Alaska but she had lived here briefly in the mid 1990s. She had met Pirate on the internet and moved to Alaska with the intention of marrying him, Olson said.
After the ordeal, she stayed in Fairbanks and cooperated with prosecutors. She was planning to stay until the trial was over and then move on, he said.
"She described herself as a hobo, basically," Olson said.
Olson said he didn't know if her family had learned of her death.