Crime & Courts

New Stuyahok man exhibited ‘stalking behavior’ before fatally choking woman, charges say

A 20-year-old man led investigators to a roadside in New Stuyahok where he assaulted and strangled a woman, according to charging documents filed Wednesday in Dillingham court.

James Thomas Weedman is facing charges of second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the weekend death of Angelina Chunak, 25.

Alaska State Troopers were first notified Saturday night that Chunak had been missing for about a day, the agency wrote in an online report. Investigators determined she was last seen at a friend’s house between 1:30 and 2 a.m. that day.

On Sunday morning, one of Chunak’s family members found her body face-down in a pond used for recreational swimming just west of the village, charges say. Investigators said there were signs of trauma on her head and neck.

Interviews with Chunak’s family revealed that Weedman had been stopping by the house to ask for her whereabouts frequently during the previous two weeks, the charges said. One family member described Weedman’s interactions as “stalking behavior,” according to the charges.

Investigators were not immediately able to locate Weedman for questioning and believed he was on his family’s boat on the Nushagak River.

On Monday, investigators found blood along a roadway near the airport, the charges said. Items belonging to Chunak also were found there, the charges said.

Blood was found on Weedman’s orange four-wheeler, which investigators said was discovered on the village boat docks.

Investigators obtained a search warrant Tuesday morning for Weedman’s home and he was there when they arrived, the charges said. Weedman agreed to be interviewed at the Village Public Safety Office and told investigators that he had given Chunak a ride on his four-wheeler early Saturday after they left a friend’s house, according to the charges.

He told investigators “he liked her and had been trying to get her attention recently,” the charges said. “He made it sound as though he strangled her out of frustration.”

Weedman brought investigators back to the area near the airport and pointed out additional clothing that belonged to Chunak, the charges said. Weedman told investigators he’d moved her body using the four-wheeler and left it at the pond, according to the charges.

Weedman is being held on a $500,000 bond and is in custody at the Anchorage Correctional Complex.

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