Crime & Courts

Former Alaska man charged in cold case sexual assault from 1995

A former Anchorage man has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenager outside an East Anchorage restaurant in 1995.

The case is the second time in a month Alaska prosecutors have charged a cold case sex crime based on the results of an effort to reexamine long-untested DNA evidence.

Ronald Wade Fischer, 51, was indicted by an Anchorage grand jury last week on a single charge of sexual assault in the first degree, the Alaska Department of Law said in a statement Thursday.

An indictment in the cases gives few details about the alleged crime. The victim, a 17-year-old girl, was walking on a sidewalk near the former Royal Fork Buffet restaurant on Northway Drive before the alleged assault, which happened in February 1995, said Department of Law spokeswoman Patty Sullivan.

“Mr. Fischer was a stranger to her,” she said.

Police investigated at the time and took DNA evidence from the victim, but failed to identify a suspect, the department said. The case went cold for decades.

In 2020, the kit was unearthed thanks to a legislatively-funded push to test a backlog of thousands of evidence kits held by local law enforcement agencies around the state. Fischer’s DNA matched, the department said.


In a similar case charged in February, an Anchorage grand jury indicted 52-year-old Lawrence Andrew Lekanoff on charges he’d abused children at a park in Anchorage in 1994. Lekanoff was also identified by the effort to process untested sexual assault kits, the Department of Law said at the time.

The statewide cold case prosecutor has charged four people based on evidence from the project testing kits from local police department agencies, Sullivan said.

“Additional cases have been charged across the state by other prosecutors,” she said.

Public records show that Fischer lived in Anchorage in the 1990s but later moved Outside.

Fischer will be extradited to Alaska from Ohio, Sullivan said.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.