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Crime & Courts

Dragged carpet roll investigated in Fairbanks man’s death

FAIRBANKS - A video showing a car pulling a rolled-up carpet down a snowy Fairbanks road may be linked to the death of a man found dead in the vehicle later that night.

A white Volvo station wagon is seen pulling a rolled piece of carpeting onto College Road near Aurora Subdivision in this still image from video provided by Alaska State Troopers.

Alaska State Troopers initially reported the death last month of Jose Santiago, 56, as a fatality in a car crash west of Fairbanks.

Troopers now suspect Santiago died as the result of foul play, and they are seeking public assistance in solving the case, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Troopers on Tuesday announced a suspicious death had occurred Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving, on College Road, a busy east-west street that spans the north side of Fairbanks.

The announcement included a video clip shot between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. The video shows a white Volvo station wagon pulling or dragging a rolled-up piece of carpeting to College Road. The tape stops before showing which direction the car turned.

The car was owned by Santiago. Shortly after 7 p.m., Santiago’s car was found crashed on a rural road west of Fairbanks with Santiago’s body inside.

Investigators initially concluded that the Volvo left the roadway, went down an embankment and crashed into an elevated driveway.

“Santiago was ejected into the passengers floorboard,” a trooper press release said at the time. “Santiago died as a result of his injuries on scene. Santiago was not wearing a seat belt and icy roads with speed contributed to the crash.”

Investigators now do not believe Santiago died from crash injuries, trooper communications director Jonathon Taylor said.

“The reason why we’re asking for additional information is we have reason to believe there were additional acts of foul play surrounding Mr. Santiago’s death,” Taylor said.

Taylor would not say whether troopers suspect there was anything inside the rolled up carpet dragged by Santiago's car.

They are asking for witnesses to come forward if they saw anyone associated with the car dragging the carpet or leaving the crash site.

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