Alaska State Troopers arrested a 30-year-old Crooked Creek man on Saturday, charging him with first degree murder in the death of a 26-year-old family member.
Troopers say Ronald Waskey and Evan Waskey were involved in an altercation, during which Evan died. Ronald was arraigned Monday and is now in custody at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center.
On Sept. 23, Troopers arrested 29-year-old Harold M. Gregory, after a woman’s body was found at a residence in Crooked Creek six weeks earlier. Gregory is being held on a Murder II charge in the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center.
Crooked Creek has been losing population. A decade ago, it was home to more than 135 people. This year it has — or had — a population of about 94, according to the State Division of Community and Regional Affairs, which means the village has lost two percent of its population to murder in the past 90 days.
To compare, if Anchorage had seen a 2 percent murder rate, that would be more than 5,800 murders in the last 90 days.
Statewide, it would be as if 14,200 Alaskans had been knocked off since August.
Instead, Anchorage is aghast because the murders this year have totaled 26 known homicides so far. That’s closing in on last year’s total of 28 in the municipality.
Two murders in 90 days, is a relatively small number for those on the road system worried about the triple homicide this month in Wasilla. Anchorage is averaging more than two per month.
But for rural Alaska villages like Crooked Creek, the isolation, close family relationships, and lack of law enforcement make it especially troubling when two people end up dead, and another two end up in jail. Between the two, and the two accused in their deaths, four percent of the village was somehow directly involved in a murder since August, not counting the parents, siblings, cousins, and extended family of the victims, who suffer the grief and sorrow. There are very few last names in a rural Alaska village, and only 31 families altogether.
Crooked Creek, 120 miles up the Kuskokwim River from Bethel, is served by the Village Public Safety Officer program through the Association of Village Council Presidents. But the village tribal government has no public safety facilities of any kind, according to AVCP’s assessment of public safety.