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Corpse set ablaze near Girdwood; three in custody

Posted: Friday, August 09, 2002

GIRDWOOD (AP) -- The burned body of a young woman was found along a dirt road near a popular trail north of Girdwood early Thursday and Alaska State Troopers and Anchorage police were investigating the woman's death as a homicide.

Three suspects were taken into custody late Thursday, but Anchorage police were releasing little information about them. As part of the investigation, police were examining an apartment at a large East Anchorage complex. The three suspects did not live at the apartment, police Lt. Ken Cole said.

Authorities did not release the name or address of the victim but said she was in her early 20s.

Her body apparently had been dumped on Crow Creek Road less than half a mile from the Crow Pass trail and deliberately set afire, authorities said.

It was discovered after a resident of the area ''saw a fireball'' at about 6 a.m., troopers said. When the man next looked, he saw only smoke, went to investigate and found the body, trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.

Girdwood Fire Chief Bill Chadwick was the first official on the scene. The body was still smoldering, he said, and the person's sex was difficult to determine at that time because the body was badly burned.

An autopsy was being done to determine the cause of death, Wilkinson said.

Authorities doused the fire by 6:45 a.m. but did not examine the damaged corpse in detail at the spot, preferring to take it to a more controlled environment, trooper Sgt. Randy McPherron said.

''It's weird. It's in my back yard,'' said Kurtis Kramer, 26, who lives at Mile 4.5 Crow Creek Road. ''It freaks me out being so remote.''

Girdwood is quiet and its people look out for each other, the residents said.

''A lot of people don't lock their houses, don't lock their cars, leave bikes out,'' said Brian Snyder, a 47-year-old who moved to Girdwood four months ago.

''This is something that doesn't happen in Girdwood,'' said Fred Scriver, 34, as he carried organic milk and a newspaper from the Crow Creek Mercantile. ''Girdwood is the calmest, kindest place I've ever been.''

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