Crime & Courts

Man sought in Beluga Point standoff not found; aerial Cook Inlet search continues

The Anchorage man Alaska State Troopers say caused Wednesday's standoff at Beluga Point, eluding an overnight perimeter that closed the Seward Highway for more than 12 hours, had still not been found Friday morning.

Troopers said Thursday they were examining all possibilities in 36-year-old Kevin Thibodeau's disappearance, including whether he had attempted to swim from the point on the highway between Anchorage and Girdwood. The search for him included the waters of Cook Inlet.

Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said Thibodeau, wanted on assault and weapons-misconduct charges, was not located during an initial helicopter search Thursday near Beluga Point.

"At some point today we're hoping to do a little more flying, weather permitting, which right now looks pretty good," DeSpain said. "We don't know where he is, and part of our search concerns the water."

['None of us saw this coming': Mystery surrounds whereabouts of 'distraught' man who caused highway closure]

Asked if troopers believe Thibodeau went into the water, DeSpain said, "We're not sure."

Anchorage police said Thibodeau, initially described as a "distraught male," fired a gun and threatened someone in the parking lot at Beluga Point shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday. Responding officers heard gunfire and called in APD's SWAT team, which secured the area with help from troopers and closed the highway until about 9:30 a.m. Thursday.


An air and K-9 search of Beluga Point at first light Thursday found only "a firearm and other potential evidence," according to the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, which is currently handling the case.


Capt. Tony April, the bureau's commander, said investigators returned to the scene Friday morning and after an initial search found a handgun, some shell casings and other items on a rocky area on the far side of the point near its shoreline. None of the items were clothing, but April declined to specify exactly what was discovered.

April deferred most questions on the standoff to Anchorage police, because ABI wasn't called to the scene until after it had ended. He did say that Anchorage police considered Thibodeau a "person of interest" in a previous case Wednesday, and that neither police nor troopers had reported firing any weapons during the standoff.

"Right now, we want to hold off on that because we're analyzing some of the items that we were able to recover," April said. "You don't want to overlook anything, so that's why we're out there again today taking another look."

Thibodeau, an Army veteran, had served with the Anchorage-based 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and been deployed to Afghanistan as a first lieutenant in 2012. More recently, he has been the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation's director of communications.

The Army said Friday that Thibodeau had risen to the rank of captain during a decade of active-duty service, including one deployment each to Iraq and Afghanistan, from January 2006 through December, when he joined the Army Reserve.

UIC said in a Friday statement that it "cares deeply for the health, safety, and well-being of all of its employees and hopes and prays that Kevin Thibodeau is safe and that he, his family, and the community receive adequate and appropriate care and protection."

Thibodeau's sister, Rachel Garcia, said by phone Thursday that his family didn't believe he would ever randomly harm anyone.

"We're so confused as to what happened out there," Garcia said.

Anyone with word on Thibodeau's whereabouts is asked to call troopers at 907-262-4453 or APD at 907-786-8900.

Check back for updates.

Chris Klint

Chris Klint is a former ADN reporter who covered breaking news.