Alaska Troopers are not releasing any new information about the human remains found in a half-buried freezer a dozen miles from Tok.
Fairbanks dispatch was notified at 6:05 a.m. Monday of "a freezer containing human remains in the woods near mile 112 of the Tok Cutoff," according to a trooper dispatch. Tok-based troopers went to the area and found the partially buried freezer approximately 100 feet into the woods from the road, with only a recreational site and rest area nearby.
Troopers from Glennallen and the Fairbanks General Investigation Unit, as well as staff from the Tok Department of Transportation, assisted at the scene. The helicopter Helo 2 was also present.
A Tok resident, who didn’t want to be identified, said she was driving into Tok when she saw the situation first-hand.
“There were several unmarked cars, troopers cars, a Helo on the ground,” she said. “There was also an excavator, a pretty big one. It wasn’t a garden tool.”
The trooper report did not expand on what type of freezer they found. Neither was there an update on whether the gender or identity was apparent from the remains and whether it was one body or more. The freezer and contents have been sent to the State Medical Examiner in Anchorage for examination and identification. The investigation is ongoing, and the information is limited.
“We have no new info to share about the case,” trooper spokesperson Gretchen Weiss-Brooks said on Wednesday. “The team is hesitant to provide details that may interfere with their investigation.”
She added that Troopers will keep the public as informed as possible.
“This is a case of high interest, and we understand that people are very eager to learn more," she said.
Multiple people said on Facebook that they are sending their thoughts to the family of the deceased — and to the families of missing people.
Becky Derendoff, the relative of missing man Willis Derendoff, commented online, “It’s very hard not knowing who it is, male or female, etc. I wanted to thank you all for being considerate of our feelings in your comments. We’ve had a tough day just waiting by the phone.”
Contact staff writer Alena Naiden at 459-7587. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMlocal.