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Crime & Courts

Footprints in fresh snow lead Fairbanks police to suspect in man’s stabbing death

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: November 1, 2017
  • Published November 1, 2017

Footprints tracked through fresh snow led police to the motel room of a murder suspect overnight Tuesday in downtown Fairbanks.

Police followed the footprints around 2 miles from the scene of a stabbing to arrive at the Alaska Motor Inn, where 26-year-old Sheldon Charles Wolfe was staying, wrote Yumi McCulloch, Fairbanks Police Department spokeswoman, in an email.

Wolfe was charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, following an investigation overnight.

He is accused of fatally stabbing the 40-year-old victim, Armagan Idil, after an altercation in a parking lot Tuesday evening, and then dumping the knife in a river across town.

Police said that they got a call about the stabbing just after 7 p.m. Tuesday in a parking lot on College Road, near the Bentley Mall. Officers arrived to find Idil suffering from a stab wound to the left side of his neck, but still alive. Paramedics were called, and he was taken to the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police isolated a footprint in the fresh snow, McCulloch wrote.

"The footprint was tracked towards the Bentley Mall, West along College Road, South on Illinois Street, across the Cushman Street bridge, through a parking lot onto 5th Avenue and into the parking lot of the Alaska Motor Inn," McCulloch wrote.

They followed the tracks about 2 miles, according to online maps.

The footprints led police to the door of Wolfe's room. He had what appeared to be a bruise on his left cheek and his shoes matched the footprints, McCulloch wrote.

Wolfe then told police that he and a friend had been walking north on the Old Steese Highway when he was confronted by Idil. Idil yelled at Wolfe's friend, "then struck the friend in the back of the head with a cylindrical weapon," McCulloch wrote.

"Wolfe got between the two and Idil then struck Wolfe on the left side of the face.  Wolfe then produced a butterfly style knife and stabbed Idil somewhere in the left shoulder area," McCulloch wrote.

Wolfe then returned to his motel room, where he got a ride from another person, who took Wolfe across town to a boat launch on Chena Pump Road, according to police. There, Wolfe threw the knife in the Tanana River, McCulloch wrote.

The driver corroborated the story with police, according to McCulloch.

McCulloch didn't know whether charges would be filed against anybody else involved in the incident. Wolfe was arraigned Wednesday afternoon, online records show.

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