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Crime & Courts

Woman killed in Anchorage hit-and-run was mother from St. Lawrence Island

Michele Kulukhon, left, sits next to her sister Melanie Kulukhon. On Saturday, Nov.10, 2018 Michele was killed by a hit and run driver. (Photo courtesy of the Kulukhon family)

Anchorage police identified the woman killed Saturday in a hit-and-run collision on a street near Ship Creek as Michele Kulukhon, 35.

Kulukhon grew up in Gambell, on St. Lawrence Island, said her mother Ellen Kulukhon.

She'd also spent time living in Nome, Diomede Island and Shaktoolik.

She came from a big family, with two brothers, three sisters and two stepsisters. Kulukhon was a mother, with five children of her own. One passed away.

In recent years, she'd lived between Fairbanks, Anchorage and other communities, her mom said. She spent time at Bean's Cafe.

"Everyone knew her there," Ellen Kulukhon said.

She said she doesn't know anything about the circumstances surrounding the hit-and-run collision.

Her daughter was humble, kind and helpful, a person who would "help anyone who asked, especially elders," she said.

Ellen Kulukhon had just seen her daughter in October, when she'd traveled to Anchorage from Shaktoolik for a medical appointment.

The family is grieving and figuring out how to bring relatives scattered in remote villages together, she said. They are also bracing for what's next.

She said she's glad a suspect has been caught, but she's not sure what will happen next as the case unfolds in the criminal justice system.

"I have to go to court or something," she said. "I've never been in this kind of situation. It's real hard."

The man accused of hitting Kulukhon near the intersection of Orca Street and East Third Avenue on Saturday evening remains at the Anchorage jail. He is charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

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