Crime & Courts

SUV struck 3 people in Metlakatla, killing 2 including driver’s young son, charges say

A Palmer woman accused of killing two people, including her son, when she struck them with an SUV last month while visiting Metlakatla for a family member’s funeral, was charged with murder this week.

Alecia Henderson, 27, is facing two charges of second-degree murder, two charges of manslaughter and one count each of third-degree assault, driving under the influence and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

A third person identified as the father of the child was struck and injured during the incident early on the morning of April 22, according to a criminal complaint filed with the charges Tuesday.

Henderson attended a memorial party in the Southeast Alaska village with her boyfriend and their 3-year-old son on April 21, according to a summary of police reports attached with criminal charges. Most people at the party were drinking, the charges said.

Henderson argued with her boyfriend after he took away the keys to the Nissan Pathfinder they were borrowing, the charges said. He left the house after 1 a.m. April 22 with their son and Henderson’s brother, James Henderson, and began to walk to a nearby house to sleep, according to the charges.

Henderson’s boyfriend later told investigators that he called her while he was walking to see if she had calmed down, but she had not, according to the charges.

Several minutes later a vehicle struck the group and fled, the charges said. Video surveillance later showed that the driver of a Nissan Pathfinder turned off the headlights and rapidly accelerated toward the group of pedestrians, the document said.


Two police officers were nearby and called for additional help, Alaska State Troopers said. The group was brought to the emergency room, where James Henderson died. The charges said the child was taken to Anchorage and died the next day.

Police said they found a license plate at the scene that matched the vehicle Alecia Henderson was borrowing, according to the report summary. Within 10 minutes, they located the vehicle and Henderson, who they described as slurring her speech. Her blood was drawn at the clinic to test for alcohol and controlled substances, the charges said.

Henderson did not answer police questions and officers said they overheard her speaking with medical providers and denying she was driving, according to the charges. She also told providers she “didn’t mean this,” and asked repeatedly about her boyfriend and son’s condition, the charges said.

Henderson told her boyfriend in a recorded call several days later that she believed she hit someone else’s car, the charges said.

Charges were filed against Henderson on Tuesday and she was arrested in Metlakatla, troopers said. She is being held on $250,000 bail at the Ketchikan Correctional Center, troopers said.

Metlakatla Indian Community, located on Annette Island about 20 miles south of Ketchikan, is the only federal reserve in Alaska. About 1,500 people live there.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at