Alaska State Troopers say a skull found by a hiker in the tiny community of Indian, off the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood, is that of a 26-year-old woman who went missing in 2010.
Nichole M. Millsaps was last seen in Wasilla in late April or early May nearly four years ago, but her family hadn't seen her for months, according to a missing poster circulating at the time. The poster also indicated there was a "rumor she was dead."
Troopers issued an endangered missing person bulletin on Oct. 5, 2010. Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters said the investigating trooper is looking into why Millsaps was considered at risk. She said the agency, in general, may take that route if the family is suspicious or if the missing person has medical issues and no medication.
The hiker reported finding the skull to Girdwood-based troopers about 11 a.m. Sunday. He told troopers he'd been hiking around a wooded area near Boretide Road in Indian.
Troopers went to the area to recover the skull and conduct an initial assessment. They found clothing that belonged to Millsaps. Troopers' spokesperson Megan Peters said other remains were found near the skull but did not know how complete the remains were.
The skull is what caught troopers' attention, she said.
The investigation is still in the preliminary stages, and troopers are not yet saying they suspect homicide. Troopers do not know how Millsaps died, Peters said. A Special Crimes Investigation Unit with the state's bureau of investigations and a state medical examiner are reportedly combing the area.
Positive identification of the remains is still pending, but the troopers reported they "are presumed to be those" of the missing woman. Peters said between investigative work and the remains' location, troopers are very positive.
Millsaps was convicted of drunk driving in December 2009, three months after troopers pulled her over. She reportedly had a child in the car and was also initially charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, though the state dropped that charge. According to online court records, Millsaps reported to the Cordova Center in February 2010 to serve a monthlong jail sentence. Later in August, she failed to appear for a court hearing.