Crime & Courts

Kotzebue man took phone directly from missing 10-year-old, indictment says

Peter Wilson told authorities that he found the cellphone of a missing 10-year-old girl in the street. In reality, he took the phone directly from her, according to a federal grand jury indictment Wednesday.

The grand jury handed up the indictment against Wilson, 41, charging him with one count of lying to the FBI. The indictment became public Thursday.

['She knew who he was': Unified by loss, Kotzebue puzzles over arrest in child homicide case]

Searchers found the body of Ashley Johnson-Barr on Sept. 14, more than 2 miles from the playground where she was last seen.

The indictment against Wilson mostly mirrors allegations laid out in federal affidavit filed earlier this week. One additional detail relates to Ashley's missing cellphone.

Not only did Wilson lie about finding the phone, the indictment alleges, "he had taken it directly from Ashley herself."

[Read the full indictment]


The indictment alleges Wilson made multiple false statements to the FBI, including denying that he drove a four-wheeler on the evening of Johnson-Barr's death. He told FBI that he had never seen the girl before, although "he had met her on numerous occasions," court documents say.

Wilson falsely told the FBI that he had found Johnson-Barr's cellphone on the ground near the NANA Building, the indictment says.

Wilson also told the FBI that while in possession of Johnson-Barr's cellphone, it was not lighting up and that he didn't see her name on the device. The FBI alleges that Wilson knew the phone had been lighting up and ringing, and that Johnson-Barr's name appeared on the screen as it lit up.

Wilson is scheduled to be arraigned at 11 a.m. Friday at the Anchorage federal court house.

[A timeline of Kotzebue girl Ashley Johnson-Barr's disappearance]

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.