Crime & Courts

Alaska Zoo identifies homicide victim as its head gardener

The man found dead Monday in the parking lot of the Alaska Zoo was a homicide victim, Anchorage police now say.

The man was identified in an update Wednesday as 45-year-old Michael R. Greco. He was found in the lower end of the parking lot at the zoo on O'Malley Road.

In a statement, the zoo said Greco was its head gardener and had worked there since March 2014.

"Michael will be remembered for his enthusiastic attitude and the passion he put into such beloved annual events such as Zoo Lights, for which he created many displays," the zoo said.

The subfreezing cold made it difficult for detectives to immediately establish the cause of his death, police spokesman MJ Thim said.

Greco died as a result of "trauma to the body," the update said, adding that the type and cause of trauma is part of the investigation and is not being released.