Alaska State Troopers are investigating the death of a 13-year-old girl in the small Southeast community of Kake as a homicide and awaiting the results of an autopsy.
Family members have identified the deceased as 13-year-old MacKenzie H. Howard of Kake.
Alaska State Troopers say the teenage girl was found by a member of the community just after 11:30 Tuesday night inside an arctic entryway to the Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen said investigators are continuing to work in Kake Thursday. “The death does appear to be a homicide so we’re treating it like it is,” Ipsen said. “So we’re taking the necessary investigative steps, collecting evidence, talking to people and we’re treating it like it is a homicide. It’s a matter of getting the confirmation from the state medical examiners office. They’ll be conducting an autopsy and be determining the cause of death.”
Howard’s body is being sent to Anchorage for that autopsy. Ipsen could not say when the autopsy would happen. No arrests have been made in the case but Ipsen said investigators were working hard to follow up leads in the small community. “Pretty much any community is going to be shaken up by the death of a 13-year-old girl,” she said. ‘And then when its determined it appears to be a homicide, it causes even more ripples and we do have a lot of information coming in but there’s a lot of information that, there’s a lot of, I hate to call em rumors, there’s a lot of information that gets twisted around and we have to track down these leads, so if there’s something that is just kind of far out, we have to look at the information coming in and determine whether or not to be truthful or factual or see where it goes. So for us you know it’s like kind of weeding the rumors from the facts on top of it.”
A number of visitors were in Kake this week for a memorial service for Tlingit elder Clarence Jackson. Anyone with information in the case is encouraged to call state troopers at 907-225-5118.