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Crime & Courts

Online registry in Alaska shows 1,239 missing people since 1960

A search and rescue dog and two people search along the bank of the Matanuska River near the Old Glenn Highway bridge in Palmer for missing person Rachel Lynn Mallard on Nov. 3, 2017. Mallard is one of 1,239 people included in the Alaska Department of Public Safety's Missing Persons Clearinghouse, which lists people missing from 1960 through Dec. 1, 2019. (Bob Hallinen / ADN archive)

Alaska’s list of missing people has been updated and now contains 1,239 names, public safety officials said Friday.

The Missing Persons Clearinghouse produced by the Alaska Department of Public Safety lists people missing from 1960 through Dec. 1.

The online registry is the culmination of nearly three years of gathering and researching cases overseen by police agencies statewide, Malia Miller, clearinghouse manager, said in an announcement.

"In Alaska, missing persons cases remain open until they're resolved," Miller said.

Among the latest names: Anesha Murnane, 38, a vulnerable adult missing from an assisted living facility in Homer since Oct. 17. Officials believe she was picked up and driven north.

Much of the data had to be added from paper records.

The list includes people who simply disappeared or who were never found after boating accidents or airplane crashes — such as U.S. Rep. Nick Begich, an Alaska Democrat; Begich aide Russell Brown; U.S. Rep. Hale Boggs, a Louisiana Democrat; and pilot Don Jonz, who all disappeared in a small airplane on Oct. 16, 1972.

The list also contains people who vanished under more ominous circumstances and are targets of law enforcement investigations.

The page lists missing people's names, case numbers, dates they were reported missing, their last known location and the police agency overseeing each case.

The update is partly in response to public requests, Miller said. The Department of Public Safety wants Alaskans to visit the page and help officials keep it current. Information received from family and friends can breathe new life into lingering cases or add to the listings, Miller said.

"I had somebody contact me a couple of weeks ago inquiring about her father who went missing in 1971," Miller said. "After finding the report, I found that he wasn't officially listed as missing, so I was able to add him."

The online list includes a link to missing persons bulletins, which have photos and more information and can be distributed to police agencies.

Relatives of missing people can inquire about submitting DNA samples and dental records that may be used to identify human remains, Miller said.

"They should contact me and arrange to have a DNA swab taken, even if they don't live in Alaska," said Miller. "We can make arrangements with police departments in other states and other countries to provide DNA for the databases."

DNA must be collected by law enforcement and cannot be self-submitted, she said.

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