Body found near missing Anchorage girl's home

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The body of a young girl was found in South Anchorage on Monday, just blocks from the home of missing teen-ager Delaney Zutz, Anchorage police said.

Police have not made an identification and would say only that the body, that of a white female between ages 13 and 15, was lying in a wooded area near Lake Otis Parkway.

''I wouldn't want to say definitively until we have a positive ID that this is her,'' said police spokeswoman Anita Shell.

The discovery was made as the Zutz family was seeking the public's help in finding Delaney, 13, who has not been seen since Wednesday.

Fliers that pictured the teen were posted around the city and the family's neighborhood over the weekend by state troopers, friends and family members hoping for information that would lead to her whereabouts.

Initially police considered Delaney a runaway but said friends told them that they usually heard from her each day and that no one had heard from her in almost a week. That prompted police to reclassify the case and to begin a missing persons investigation into Delaney's disappearance.

Police have not released details about the condition of the body or a possible cause of death. Shell said foul play is suspected.

Three of Delaney's relatives, who flew to Anchorage from Minnesota on Sunday night, found the body around 3:15 p.m. Monday about 30 or 40 yards from 64th Avenue. They were combing the woods looking for the 13-year-old, Shell said.

Delaney's mother, Jinny Zutz, and other family members were being interviewed about Delaney's disappearance when reports surfaced about an unidentified body discovered near the family home, Shell said.

Delaney's boyfriend told police that he last spoke with her around 2 a.m. Wednesday by telephone. During that conversation, a 15-year-old boy named Brandon knocked at her ground-floor bedroom window. Delaney told her boyfriend she was going with Brandon, police said.

''All the kids we've talked to in the last few days, they've not heard from Delaney since this incident,'' said Detective Cynthia Bridges. ''It's totally abnormal for her.''

Terika Kons, a family friend, said Delaney left behind her keys, identification and money.

''She's not runaway material at all,'' Kons said.

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