Wednesday, 19 December 2018
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BSAR Members Join Search For Ashley Johnson-Barr In Kotzebue

Update Sept. 14, 2018 6:03 p.m.: After eight days of searching, law enforcement officers and search volunteers have found the body of 10-year-old Ashley Johnson-Barr in an area east of the City of Kotzebue. According to Alaska State Troopers, she was found deceased late this afternoon.

“Alaska State Troopers, the FBI, Kotzebue Police Department, and the Northwest Arctic Borough extend our sincerest condolences to Ashley’s family, friends, and community,” said Troopers in a statement released shortly afterwards.

Update Sept. 14, 2018 4:15 p.m.: Bethel Search and Rescue members Sam Samuelson, Jim Pete Jr., and search dog D.O.G. have landed in Kotzebue and are preparing to join the search for Ashley Johnson-Barr. Samuelson told KYUK, “It’s hard to sit still while a little girl is missing.”

At least three communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta are holding prayer walks at 5:30 p.m. this evening to show support for the family of Johnson-Barr and the city of Kotzebue. They are asking everyone to wear purple, Johnson-Barr’s favorite color. Purple has become a symbol of hope and support for the search. The communities holding walks are Mountain Village, Hooper Bay, and Aniak.

Donations to support the search effort can be made to Bethel Search and Rescue by calling BSAR President Mike Riley at 907-545-4357.

Original story: Three Bethel Search and Rescue members are flying to Kotzebue to join the search for Ashley Johnson-Barr. The 10-year-old girl went missing on Thursday, September 6. Over the past week, a massive search has ensued involving state and federal agencies as well as local volunteers.

Bethel Search and Rescue Members Sam Samuelson and Jim Pete are scheduled to fly out Friday, September 14 on the noon jet from Anchorage to Kotzebue to help look for the missing girl. Pete is also bringing his St. Bernard search dog named D.O.G.

“We have been training our search dog for a year, and we thought it’d be a big help to shorten up this search and help recover this missing girl,” said Pete, talking to KYUK from the Anchorage airport.

Pete and Samuelson are both senior members of Bethel Search and Rescue. This will be D.O.G.’s third search since completing his training. They are expecting to join the search in Kotzebue this afternoon and have been coordinating with the Alaska Search and Rescue Association incident command. Pete doesn’t know when they’ll return to Bethel.

“We hope to get this concluded as soon as we can,” Pete said, “but there’s no set date scheduled to coming back yet.”

Ravn Alaska donated three seats to get the team from Bethel to Kotzebue. They had to fly out of Bethel on Thursday to catch Friday’s noon flight out of Anchorage. Pete has been using his layover in the city to stock up on supplies for D.O.G.

“He’s food rewarded,” Pete explained, “and I wanted to get him more treats and collapsible bowls for when we’re working, so I can water him and feed him while we’re out on the trail.”

D.O.G’s treat of choice is bacon.

Both Samuelson and Pete are departing from Anchorage wearing purple t-shirts. The color is Ashley Johnson-Barr’s favorite and has become a symbol of hope and support for the search.

Also on Friday evening, the community of Mountain Village is holding a prayer walk at 5:30 p.m. to show support for the family of Ashley Johnson-Barr and the city of Kotzebue. They are asking everyone to wear purple.


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