Lt. Gov. Meyer signs extradition orders for suspected killer



Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer signed an extradition request to the governor of Maine for Steven Harris Downs, a former student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who is accused of first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault in the death of 20-year-old Sophie Sergie in April 1993. The order was signed on Thursday.

“After 26 long years, it is time for Sophie Sergie and her family to see justice served,” said Lt. Gov.Meyer. “This case has haunted Sophie’s family and the Fairbanks community for far too long. It is my hope that Governor [Janet] Mills approves this request quickly and permits the wheels of justice, unmoved since 1993, to proceed forward in our search for the truth in this tragic case.”

Sophie Sergie was visiting Fairbanks in late April 1993 when she decided to spend the night with a friend at the UAF campus. Her body was discovered the next day in a dormitory bathroom. Investigators with the Alaska State Troopers launched an investigation and collected a DNA sample from the victim that was uploaded into the Combined DNA Identification System (CODIS) in 2000, but no identification was made.

[Read: Cold case: DNA points to suspect in Maine]

Last year, Trooper investigators used genealogical databases to identify a possible suspect and that eventually led them to a relative of Downs. Working with Maine law enforcement, Downs was interviewed again and on Feb. 14, a search warrant for a sample of his DNA was served. His DNA was tested, and it matched the DNA sample found on Sergie’s body.

“Public safety and restoring trust in state government is the number one priority of this administration and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to make Alaska safer,” Meyer said.

Meyer has extradition duties, as they were assigned to him by Gov. Michael Dunleavy in December, under Alaska’s Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, Alaska Statute 12.70.