Tag Archives: True Crime in Alaska

Murder on Shuyak Island



On November 12th, 2015, Peter, the Island Air, mail-plane pilot, landed at Port William Wilderness Lodge on Shuyak Island. The lodge occupies an old cannery, and Peter found this stop memorable because instead of both of the lodge’s caretakers greeting him, as usual, only one caretaker, 44-year-old Steven Ridenour, met the plane. Peter wondered why the other caretaker, Steven McCaulley, 56, also did not arrive to help unload the freight. Since the tide was high, the plane could not pull up to the beach, and Ridenour had to ferry the mail to shore by boat. Without McCaulley there to assist, the job proved difficult and time-consuming. Peter also found it curious that Ridenour simply stacked the freight above the high-tide mark, grabbed his gear, and jumped on the plane for a ride back to Kodiak. Ridenour then flew to Anchorage where he lived.

On November 15th, Steven Ridenour called the manager of Port William Wilderness Lodge, told him he’d quit his job, and asked for his past four paychecks. On November 17th, Steven Ridenour’s brother, Don, called the lodge manager and said his brother sent him and other family members Facebook messages stating he killed his fellow caretaker, Steven McCaulley, in self-defense, and he needed money to leave the state. The manager contacted the Alaska State Troopers and requested a welfare check on McCaulley at the lodge.

SOURCES:

Christiansen, Scott. 3-17-2017. I killed a man on Shuyak who tried to kill me with a chainsaw. Kodiak Daily Mirror. Available at http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com/news/article_533bfb52-0abc-11e7-bc83-97c66a534f34.html

Christiansen, Scott. 3-15-2017. Shuyak Island killing case goes to trial. Kodiak Daily Mirror. Available at http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com/news/article_cc2b2096-0923-11e7-a7e6-7b4185115b1c.html

Christiansen Scott. 4-7-2017. Murder defendant’s phone messages point to heavy drinking. Kodiak Daily Mirror. Available at http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com/news/article_2f0b2b10-1b3b-11e7-8882-af591c19cbde.html

Associated Press. 9-20-2018. Anchorage man sentenced to 62 years in murder of co-worker at lodge near Kodiak. Anchorage Daily News. Available at https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/crime-courts/2018/09/20/anchorage-man-sentenced-to-62-years-in-murder-of-co-worker-at-lodge-near-kodiak/

__________________________________________________________________________
If you would like to support Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier? Become a patron and join The Last Frontier Club.
Each month I will provide one or more of the following to club members.
· An extra episode of Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier available only for club members.
· Behind the scenes glimpses of life and wildlife in the Kodiak wilderness.
· Breaking news about ongoing murder cases and new crimes in Alaska
· Merchandise or discounts on MMLF merchandise or handmade glass jewelry
Become a Patron!

__________________________________________________________________________
Check out the store: Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier merchandise.

___________________________________________________________________________

Subscribe to my free, monthly Murder and Mystery Newsletter for more stories about true crime and mystery from Alaska.
Join me on:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn
Visit my website at http://robinbarefield.com
Check out my books at Author Masterminds
___________________________________________________________________________
Robin Barefield is the author of four Alaska wilderness mystery novels, Big Game, Murder Over Kodiak, The Fisherman’s Daughter, and Karluk Bones. Sign up to subscribe to her free, monthly newsletter on true murder and mystery in Alaska.

 


A Bloody Anchorage Night



It took a horrible murder for Alaska to revise its statutes for the criminally insane from some of the most lenient sentencing laws in the country to the strictest laws in the U.S. for the insanity defense.

On the night of May 3, 1982, one veteran Anchorage police officer was quoted as saying, “This has got to be one of the grisliest nights I’ve ever seen.” Within an hour, seven people lost their lives. Three died in the Black Bull bar in the Muldoon section of Anchorage, and the other four were shot in Russian Jack Springs Park in East Anchorage. At first, investigators wondered if the two crime scenes were connected, but they soon learned nothing linked the two horrific events.

Russian Jack Springs Park

 

Russsian Jack

Sources

Ice Cold Killers Season Two, Episode One: Blood Red Sun.

Brennan, Tom. 2001. By Reason of Insanity. Murder at 40 Below. Epicenter Press.

Murderpedia, Charles L. Meach III. Available at https://murderpedia.org/male.M/m/meach-charles.htm

New York Times (1982), New Law on Insanity Plea Stirs Dispute in Alaska. Available at https://www.nytimes.com/1982/06/22/us/new-law-on-insanity-plea-stirs-dispute-in-alaska.html

____________________________________________________________________________

If you would like to support Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier? Become a patron and join The Last Frontier Club.
Each month I will provide one or more of the following to club members.
· An extra episode of Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier available only for club members.
· Behind the scenes glimpses of life and wildlife in the Kodiak wilderness.
· Breaking news about ongoing murder cases and new crimes in Alaska
· Merchandise or discounts on MMLF merchandise or handmade glass jewelry
Become a Patron!

_____________________________________________________________________________

Check out the store: Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier merchandise.

____________________________________________________________________________

Subscribe to my free, monthly Murder and Mystery Newsletter for more stories about true crime and mystery from Alaska.
Join me on:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn
Visit my website at http://robinbarefield.com
Check out my books at Author Masterminds

___________________________________________________________________________

Robin Barefield is the author of four Alaska wilderness mystery novels, Big Game, Murder Over Kodiak, The Fisherman’s Daughter, and Karluk Bones. Sign up to subscribe to her free, monthly newsletter on true murder and mystery in Alaska.


The Seductress



As troopers investigated the death of Kent Leppink, they uncovered a complex web of lies, seduction, and betrayal, with Mechele Hughes at the center of it all. Mechele was only 23 years old when someone murdered Kent Leppink on a remote trail, but the beautiful young woman already had accumulated three fiancés who lavished her with furs, jewels, and money.

Mechele Hughes Linehan
Kent Leppink

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Carlin III
Great Alaskan Bush Co.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Brennan, Tom. 2015. Dead Man’s Dancer. Epicenter Press.
https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Dancer-Mechele-Linehan/dp/1935347160/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Dead+Man%27s+Dancer%2C+Tom+Brennan&qid=1591316098&s=books&sr=1-1

Death of Kent Leppink. Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Kent_Leppink

Mechele K. Linehan. Murderpedia.
https://murderpedia.org/female.L/l/linehan-mechele.htm

Former Olympia mom wins appeal in Alaska murder case.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/former-olympia-mom-wins-appeal-in-alaska-murder-case/

Love and Death in Alaska. 48 Hours. CBS News.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/48-hours-presents-love-and-death-in-alaska-leppink-murder/

Holland, Megan. 5-15-2010. Freed from prison, Linehan sets up a new life. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska_news/freed-from-prison-linehan-sets-up-a-new-life/article_50e3b67c-53e4-50cf-9255-9f115c89adaa.html

_____________________________________________________________________
Would you like to help support Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier? Become a patron and join The Last Frontier Club.
Each month I will provide one or more of the following to club members.
· An extra episode of Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier available only for club members.
· Behind the scenes glimpses of life and wildlife in the Kodiak wilderness.
· Breaking news about ongoing murder cases and new crimes in Alaska
· Merchandise or discounts on MMLF merchandise or handmade glass jewelry

I am celebrating the grand opening of the Last Frontier Club until the end of June. The names of everyone who joins before then will be placed in a drawing to win Last Frontier Club merchandise, autographed copies of my books, handmade glass jewelry, and more.

Follow the link and join the club now!
Become a Patron!
___________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to my free, monthly Murder and Mystery Newsletter.
Join me on:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn
Visit my website at http://robinbarefield.com

______________________________________________________________________________

Robin Barefield is the author of four Alaska wilderness mystery novels, Big Game, Murder Over Kodiak, The Fisherman’s Daughter, and Karluk Bones. Sign up to subscribe to her free, monthly newsletter on true murder and mystery in Alaska.


The Horrible Misdeeds of Papa Pilgrim



Alaska’s slogan is “The Last Frontier,” and to some people, this means Alaska is the wild west, a place with less law and order, and someplace they can live as they choose. The man who called himself Papa Pilgrim believed moving his family to the wilderness of Alaska offered him the opportunity to do anything he wanted. Papa Pilgrim was the worst kind of a hypocrite because he hid his crimes behind his religious zeal. Like a charismatic cult leader, Pilgrim could appear charming and persuasive in public, but there was another side of Papa Pilgrim, and this was the side his family saw all too often.

No one knew of the horrors the Pilgrim family endured at the hands of their father, high on the mountain above McCarthy Alaska.

Robert Hale aka Papa Pilgrim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier. Kizzia, Tom. 6-16-2013. Crown Publisher
https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Kizzia-Pilgrims-Wilderness-Frontier/dp/B00HTJZ38E/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Papa+Pilgrim&qid=1589405614&s=books&sr=1-1

Papa Pilgrim’s Progress: The Dark Tale of an Alaskan Frontiersman. Kirby, Mark. 11/19/2008. Outside Magazine.
https://www.outsideonline.com/1928141/papa-pilgrims-progress-dark-tale-alaskan-frontiersman#close
Hale clan details abuse at the hand of their father, ‘Papa Pilgrim’. Kizzia, Tom. 7-1-2016. Anchorage Daily News.
https://www.adn.com/projects/article/hale-clan-details-abuse-hand-their-father-papa-pilgrim/2013/07/12/
Robert Allen Hale. Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Allen_Hale

_____________________________________________________________________

Would you like to help support Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier? Become a patron and join The Last Frontier Club.
Each month I will provide one or more of the following to club members.
· An extra episode of Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier available only for club members.
· Behind the scenes glimpses of life and wildlife in the Kodiak wilderness.
· Breaking news about ongoing murder cases and new crimes in Alaska
· Merchandise or discounts on MMLF merchandise or handmade glass jewelry

I am celebrating the grand opening of the Last Frontier Club until the end of June. The names of everyone who joins before then will be placed in a drawing to win Last Frontier Club merchandise, autographed copies of my books, handmade glass jewelry, and more.

Follow the link and join the club now!
Become a Patron!

___________________________________________________________________________

Subscribe to my free, monthly Murder and Mystery Newsletter.

Join me on:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn

Visit my website at http://robinbarefield.com

Robin Barefield is the author of four Alaska wilderness mystery novels, Big Game, Murder Over Kodiak, The Fisherman’s Daughter, and Karluk Bones. Sign up to subscribe to her free, monthly newsletter on true murder and mystery in Alaska.


__________________________


Alaska Serial Killer Joshua Wade



Joshua Wade

In my last episode, I profiled Israel Keyes, a serial killer who moved to Anchorage in 2007. Many serial-killer experts consider Keyes to be one of the most intelligent, organized serial killers of all time. He randomly chose victims who lived thousands of miles from his home, and he stashed murder kits around the country, planning to access them at some future date. It is easy to understand why Israel Keyes wasn’t captured sooner than he was. He methodically planned his crimes and always had an exit strategy. He only began making mistakes when his murderous impulses grew too strong for him to control, and these mistakes led to his apprehension.

Around the same time Israel Keyes was active, another serial killer stalked the residents of Anchorage, but the story of Joshua Wade and his crimes is far different than that of Israel Keyes. Investigators consider Wade intelligent, but he did not stalk his victims or plan his crimes. His crimes were sloppy, happened on the spur of the moment, and usually were the result of him losing his temper. The legal system should have stopped Joshua Wade long before it did.

Della Brown
Mindy Schloss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Francis, Monte. 4-16-2016. Ice and Bone. Tracking an Alaskan Serial Killer. WildBlue Press.

Joshua Wade – I Am Not a Serial Killer – Confesses to 5 Murders. https://wickedwe.com/joshua-wade-killer-confesses-murders/

Jerzy Shedlock, Jill Burke. 6-20-2014. Authorities: Joshua Wade admits to 3 additional killings. https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/article/authorities-joshua-wade-admits-3-additional-killings-0/2014/06/20/

U.S. Attorney’s Office. 6-20-2014. Convicted Killer Joshua Wade Claims Responsibility for Additional Murders. https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/anchorage/news/press-releases/convicted-killer-joshua-wade-claims-responsibilty-for-additional-murders

Modern, possibly still active serial killers, part 6: Joshua Wade. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/serialkillers/comments/8rjssa/modern_possibly_still_active_serial_killers_part/

____________________________________________________

Subscribe to my Murder and Mystery Newsletter

Join me on:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Visit my website at http://robinbarefield.com

Robin Barefield is the author of four Alaska wilderness mystery novels, Big Game, Murder Over Kodiak, The Fisherman’s Daughter, and Karluk Bones. Sign up to subscribe to her free, monthly newsletter on true murder and mystery in Alaska.