Between 1991 and 2003, six females were found murdered in the Anchorage area. Their cases remain unsolved.
Shawna Everest Evon
Shawna is the youngest victim on the list. She was only 12 years old when someone brutally killed her.
Shawna disappeared in April 1991. Police found her decomposed body in the back doorway of an abandoned building at 529 C Street on June 8 of that year. The structure had housed the Monkey Wharf bar from 1976 to 1987.
The building is now gone, and the National Park Service sits in its place. The Monkey Wharf had live monkeys in cages for viewing pleasure. Because why not?
Shawna’s killer(s) had covered her body with trash, a street sign, and a wooden pallet. A medical examiner ruled Shawna’s cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.
Shawna originally lived in a village on Nunivak Island before her family relocated to Anchorage. The move was to enable her to finish school.
Nicknamed “Twinkie” for her love of the tasty cream-filled snacks, Shawna had a good circle of friends and was kind. Those friends are still seeking answers to her horrific murder to this day.
Unfortunately, the investigation went dormant in June 1992. Police had hopes of DNA solving her case in 2002, but her murder remains unsolved.
Today, there is a memorial dedicated to homicide victims in Alaska that holds Shawna’s portrait. Local artist Amber Webb “created an oversized qaspeq, also known as a kuspuk, bearing the faces and names of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Shawna Evon’s bright smile is at the center,” reported Alaska’s News Source in 2020.
Like the rest of the women, little information is available on Teresa Stirling or the investigation into her murder. Most of the information I found about her early years came from her mother’s obituary.
Teresa’s parents, Jim and Lyn Stirling, had seven children. They adopted six between 1961 and 1966, and Lyn gave birth to their youngest son in 1968.
Teresa grew up in Anchorage after the Stirlings moved there in 1965 from Placerville. The large family lived on Shoshoni Drive, just off DeArmoun Road. Jim and Lyn built a cabin in the 1980s at Swede Lake. The family would stay there at various times throughout the years, according to Lyn’s 2022 obituary.
Teresa was last seen alive at 8 p.m. on Monday, June 29, 1992, in the Spenard area. The next day, tourists found her nude body at around 11:50 a.m. in Earthquake Park. The location of the body was in a ravine off the main parking lot. That area is heavily wooded. A hiking trail and road run through part of the park, making it reasonably easy for the killer to leave it there.
Teresa wore only white, mud-soaked socks and had numerous bruises on her body from a blunt instrument used to kill her.
Deborah Ruth Soules Lawson
On May 29, 1993, Anchorage police responded to a shooting at the Eagle’s Nest Hotel, 4110 Spenard Road. Inside a room, they found 34-year-old Deborah Ruth Soules Lawson dead from a single gunshot wound to the neck.
Via Crime Stoppers: “Witnesses say they heard an argument shortly after midnight followed by a single gunshot; others saw several people fleeing from the room. Detectives interviewed multiple suspects and witnesses but could not make an arrest.”
Deborah had three children.
Sophie Macar was 44 years old. Police found her body on May 12, 1995 in Mountain View, between a house on 4th Avenue and the American Tire Warehouse off Unga Street. Her killer(s) had struck her in the face, strangled her, and then placed a wooden pallet over her body. Sophie’s pants were missing.
Michelle Rothe and Desiree Lekanoff
The torsos of Desiree Lekanoff, 22, and Michelle Rothe, 32, washed ashore in Turnagain Arm in June and September 2003. Police linked their murders together. Desiree’s boyfriend reported her missing in December 2001. No one reported Michelle missing, but those who knew her last saw her in the spring of 2003. Police said they believed her murder occurred that summer.
Anyone with information can call the Alaska State Troopers Missing Persons Unit at (800) 478-9333, the Anchorage Police Department at (907) 786-8900, or Crime Stoppers at (907) 561-7867.
The Dark Side of Anchorage Part III (Final): Connections, Similarities, Suspects is coming Wednesday, November 15, 2023.