Anchorage teen charged with murder in death of Soldotna man

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A 44-year-old Soldotna man on his way home from working a shift on the North Slope was shot in the head Tuesday night and his body dumped along a Seward Highway pullout, authorities said.

Late Wednesday, troopers charged 18-year-old Robert Holt Jr. of Anchorage with the murder of Harold J. Sipary. Holt also was charged with vehicle theft.

Holt was one of three men picked up Wednesday as they drove around the city in Sipary's truck. Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said the other two men were released without being charged.

Troopers said their investigation indicates that Holt was hitchhiking on the Seward Highway near the Hope cut off shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday when Sipary stopped and picked him up.

Holt asked Sipary to stop at the Mile 48 turnoff so he could go to the bathroom, troopers said. When he returned to the truck, Holt pulled a handgun and told Sipary to get out. Troopers said they believe Sipary refused, so Holt shot him, pulled him from the truck and then drove it to Anchorage.

Passers-by driving through spring snow squalls found Sipary's body shortly before 7 a.m. Wednesday at a paved pullout six miles south of the Hope cutoff, troopers said. They checked for a pulse and reported Sipary was dead at the scene. Sipary had been shot in the temple with a small-caliber handgun, Wilkinson said.

Troopers quickly issued a bulletin seeking the whereabouts of Sipary's truck. Anchorage police officers located it and pulled it over at Fourth Avenue and Fairbanks Street at 11:25 a.m.

''The truck has been impounded to the state crime lab, where we're going through it with a fine-toothed comb,'' Wilkinson said.

Sipary was heading home to Soldotna to pick up his mother and sister so they could attend a funeral this week in Wasilla, according to his brother-in-law, Mark Kruzick, of Ninilchik.

One of his nephews was the last to hear from Sipary, calling him at about 10 p.m. Tuesday on his cellphone, Kruzick said. Sipary told the boy he was passing Girdwood and would be home in two hours.

''That was the last we heard of him,'' Kruzick said.

Sipary was single. He supported his family after his father died in 1989, and had bought his mother a house in Soldotna with the money he earned in the oil field service industry, Kruzick said.

''He couldn't have had an enemy in the world, he just couldn't,'' he said.

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