Family friend says Anchorage plane crash was suicide

The man who died Tuesday when his plane hit two buildings in downtown Anchorage -- including one where his wife worked -- committed suicide, a friend of the family says.

Doug Demarest, a licensed pilot, former park ranger and first lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol, crashed the Cessna 172 around 6:18 a.m. Tuesday. That was before his wife, Kate, was at work in the Brady Building on Fourth Avenue.

"There is no reason to think Doug intended to hurt anyone but himself," said Jahna Lindemuth, a co-worker of Kate Demarest, in an email. She said she believes the death was a suicide. Both women are partners at Dorsey & Whitney, a national law firm with an Anchorage office in the Brady Building.

On Monday night, Anchorage medics evaluated a patient on the street where the Demarests live, police confirmed. KTUU reported that a recording of the police dispatch traffic indicated the medics were responding to a possible threat of a suicide at the Demarests' home.

The FBI has been investigating the crash.

Correction: An earlier version of this story described Jahna Lindemuth as a partner and Kate Demarest as an attorney. Ms. Demarest is also a partner, effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Lisa Demer

Lisa Demer was a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Dispatch News. Among her many assignments, she spent three years based in Bethel as the newspaper's western Alaska correspondent. She left the ADN in 2018.