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Troopers: Missing Palmer man died in crash; no evidence of foul play

  • Author: Lisa Demer
  • Updated: November 14
  • Published November 14

Keith Ben Aumavae (Photo provided by Jenna Aumavae)

A Palmer man whose body was found in his car at the bottom of a cliff near Point MacKenzie on Friday was killed in the crash, Alaska State Troopers said. No foul play is suspected in the death of Keith Aumavae, who hadn't been seen since Oct. 19 and whose large family was vigilant in searching.

The state medical examiner did an autopsy Monday and determined the cause of death was "blunt force trauma consistent with impact from driving a car off of a cliff," troopers said. "There were no suspicious injuries or defensive type wounds observed on Aumavae's body."

Troopers said they don't know if he intentionally drove off the 100-foot cliff but believe he died soon after he went missing. The cliff is just off the end of the runway at Goose Bay Airport.

Results of toxicology testing won't be available for several weeks, troopers said.

Aumavae, 30, was one of 13 brothers and sisters. They led search parties and put public pressure on troopers to do more to find their brother. But troopers said they were already doing what they could.

Relatives said he had multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia but it wasn't like him to disappear.

His car, a 2001 Chrysler Sebring, was found Thursday, 21 days after he was last seen. It was at the base of the cliff at the small airfield partially covered in silt and only accessible at low tide, troopers said. They got to it the next day with help from Alaska Mountain Rescue Group.

"We do not know exactly when he went over the cliff but from the amount of silt in and around the car it has likely been there for a couple of weeks," said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.

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