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Troopers: Missing 10-year-old Alaska girl found dead

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(AP)- A 10-year-old girl has been found dead Friday, authorities said, more than a week after she was reported missing in a remote Inupiat Eskimo town on Alaska’s northwestern coast.

Ashley Johnson-Barr’s remains were found east of Kotzebue, Alaska State Troopers said.

Late Friday night, FBI spokeswoman Staci Feger-Pellessier said that 41-year-old Peter Wilson of Kotzebue is facing charges of making false statements to a federal agent investigating the girl’s death. Wilson is being transferred to Anchorage, Feger-Pellessier said.

The girl was last seen playing with friends at a local park Sept. 6. Her cellphone was later found a half mile from Rainbow Park, in the opposite direction of her home in the community of 3,100 people.

The search included assistance from 17 FBI agents earlier this week. Troopers spokesman Jonathon Taylor says five of the agents left Kotzebue Thursday for other assignments.

The Alaska State Troopers are the lead agency in the case. No other information about the discovery of her body was immediately released.

Kotzebue, 26 miles (42 kilometers) north of the Arctic Circle and 550 miles (885 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, is a regional hub for northwest Alaska villages.

The town is built on a 3-mile-long (5-kilometer-long) spit, and many there live a subsistence lifestyle far off the state’s limited road system, with 26 miles (42 kilometers) of local gravel roads used by vehicles in warmer months and snowmobiles in winter. The community has a chronically high unemployment rate, with the school district, state and local hospital among its major employers.

On Wednesday evening, dozens of locals gathered at Rainbow Park to pray and share hugs and tears over the missing girl, an honor student, Anchorage television station KTUU reported.

The girl’s father, Walter “Scotty” Barr, told KTUU TV in Kotzebue on Wednesday that he didn’t know about the prayer gathering beforehand.

“It goes to show the love of the community and everyone who has helped,” he said.



Daniella Hankey

Good Morning West Virginia! Daniella Hankey is the Morning and Noon newscast Anchor. Daniella joined Newswatch as a Multi-Media journalist and quickly moved her way up to an Anchor. Before landing in the beautiful Mountain State, Daniella called her home Orlando, Florida. Armed with a major in Communications and Media Studies and a minor in Education, Daniella relocated to further her career. During her time at Stetson, she covered several big stories on and off campus including the June 2016 Pulse Night Club shooting and Hurricane Matthew. She worked as a news anchor and reporter for her college news station and enjoyed an internship in productions at PBS. Her love for journalism started in high school when she was selected as a Bright House Varsity Reporter as well as the school anchor. When Daniella is not working, you can find her exploring West Virginia especially the Greenbrier and engaging with community members. As a morning anchor, Daniella loves putting a smile on viewers faces in the morning and informing them of community events. If you have any story ideas or news tips, please email Daniella at dhankey@woay.com. You can also follow Daniella on Facebook at DaniellaHankeyTV.


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