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Boy, 14, held in death of 13-year-old Kake girl

  • Author: Casey Grove
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published February 16, 2013

A 14-year-old boy from Kake has been charged in connection with the slaying of 13-year-old Mackenzie Howard in the Southeast Alaska village Feb. 5, Alaska State Troopers said Saturday.

Because the boy is a juvenile, investigators are not identifying him publicly. Troopers took him into custody Saturday morning in Kake and were taking him to Ketchikan, agency spokesman Tim Despain said.

"Charges are pending," Despain said. "They're not making public just what he's charged with. He's certainly a suspect in the homicide."

A woman found Howard's body in the entryway to a church across the street from Howard's house the night of Feb. 5, Howard's father told the Daily News. The grisly discovery came after memorial services for a recently deceased elder. The village, about 90 miles south of Juneau, saw hundreds of out-of-town visitors for the remembrance.

Detectives and crime scene investigators with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, as well as troopers from various communities, flew to Kake to investigate. A few days later, an autopsy in Anchorage confirmed that Howard was the victim of homicide. Numerous interviews, along with information from evidence examined at the state crime lab, led to Saturday's arrest, troopers said.

Trooper Lt. Rex Leath, overseeing the investigation, said Saturday that he could not yet reveal the boy's motive or other details. Leath said he could not disclose what charges the boy faces because the juvenile had not appeared before a judge and was not yet represented by a lawyer.

"He is our only suspect in this case at this time, and we did take him into custody because of his responsibility in the murder," Leath said. "We have looked into those questions, and we have found the answers but we can't release them until he goes before a judge."

The state Department of Juvenile Justice could decide to release the boy's name at a later time, Leath said. His initial court appearance will be in Ketchikan, the lieutenant said.