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Rural Alaska

Snowmachiner found dead on trail near Akiachak

  • Author: Lisa Demer
  • Updated: September 30, 2016
  • Published March 9, 2016

BETHEL -- A snowmachiner from Akiachak missing since March 3 was found dead on Sunday on an overland trail that leads to the Southwest Alaska village, Alaska State Troopers said Wednesday.

Evon Wassilie, 63, was last heard from around 8 that evening, troopers said. That's when he called his wife saying he was at the mouth of the Gweek River, off the Kuskokwim River, and was heading home, according to Bethel Search and Rescue.

His wife alerted troopers the next day when he didn't arrive and troopers contacted search groups from Bethel and Akiachak, said Mike Riley of Bethel Search and Rescue.

Searchers checked around Bethel Friday and didn't find him then. On Saturday Bethel searchers spent hours combing the area around the mouth of the Gweek and Akiachak searchers checked from the other end. A troopers plane also flew over the area, trying to spot him from the air.

On Sunday, another team of four left Bethel on four-wheelers while a dozen searchers left from the upriver village. An Akiachak searcher found him in some trees around 1:30 p.m. on the overland trail leading from the Gweek to the village, Riley said.

He was beside an empty R&R whiskey bottle and looked as if he had just stopped for a smoke break, according to Bethel Search and Rescue. The snowmachine was functional and he didn't crash, Riley said. Troopers said there was no sign of foul play.

Wassilie's body was sent to Anchorage for an autopsy.

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