Time Bandit fisherman found dead in Homer motel room

Posted: Thursday, February 24, 2011

A crew member of the F/V Time Bandit, Justin Tennison, 33, was found dead in his hotel room on Tuesday afternoon.

Photo By Rick Gershon, Discovery Communications
Photo By Rick Gershon, Discovery Communications
Justin Tennison is the second from the right in this publicity photo of the Time Bandit crew for "Deadliest Catch." Other crew are, from left to right, deckhand Scott Hillstrand, deckhand Eddie Uwekoolani Jr., deckhand Neal Hillstrand, deckhand Mike Fourtner, Captain Andy Hillstrand, Captain Johnathan Hillstrand, deckhand Eddie Uwekoolani, Tennison and deckhand Travis Lofland.

An employee at the Best Western Bidarka Inn discovered Tennison's body in his room about 12:50 p.m. Homer Police and Homer Volunteer Fire Department medics responded.

Tennison died of unknown causes. Police did not find any apparent signs of foul play, said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl. Tennison appeared to have died sometime the night before, Robl said.

Tennison's body was sent to the Alaska Medical Examiner's office in Anchorage for an autopsy, but at press time an autopsy had not been done. Next of kin has been notified.

According to information on the Time Bandit's website, Tennison, a 28-year Alaska resident, fished commercially for many years. He crewed as engineer on the Time Bandit during tendering seasons, working with his second cousin, Eddie Uwekoolani Jr. He was a deckhand during the 2010 red and king crabbing seasons and this year's opilio crabbing season. The Time Bandit is one of the crab fishing boats and crews appearing on the popular Discovery Channel reality show, "Deadliest Catch."

"Justin was tough as a bull and was an all-around good hand. The captains and crew appreciated his hard work and many contributions this past year," the Time Bandit crew said on its website. "We will miss him terribly and wish his family all the best during this most difficult time."

The Discovery Channel also released a statement, saying, "Discovery Channel is saddened by the passing of Time Bandit crew member Justin Tennison. We send our sympathies to his entire family and fellow crew members during this most difficult time."

Episodes of season seven of "Deadliest Catch" start in April. Filming recently wrapped, and footage in which Tennison appeared will show then.

Tennison has family on the lower Kenai Peninsula. He is survived by a son, daughter, sister, father and grandparents.

A memorial fund has been set up for his family. Donations can be made to Wells Fargo Bank, account number 5790248560.

The family is making funeral arrangements and has not yet set a time and date for services.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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