Alaska port official charged with trying to drown daughter

Alaska port official charged with trying to drown daughter

Todd Cowles of Anchorage is charged with two counts of attempted murder.

ANCHORAGE — A high-ranking port official in Alaska’s largest city has been arrested, accused of twice trying to drown his 8-year-year-old daughter in a bathtub after telling her they would play with her rubber duckies.

Todd Cowles is charged with two counts of attempted murder in connection with a Jan. 2 incident at his family’s Anchorage home. Online court records don’t list an attorney for Cowles, who was arrested Jan. 4.

Cowles, 46, told police he had been in great despair because he was having trouble at work, according to a criminal complaint.

Cowles is the engineer for the Port of Alaska in Anchorage. He is in charge of the port’s modernization project, which includes replacing aging and corroding docks, port spokesman Jim Jager said Tuesday. Almost half the cargo coming into Alaska goes through the port.

“This is a personal and a private tragedy,” Jager said, adding he was not at liberty to discuss the allegations. He said Cowles remains employed, but added the port is monitoring the case and will respond as appropriate.

According to the complaint, Cowles twice tried to push his daughter’s head in the bathtub while his wife was out mailing a package, stopping both times when the girl screamed and resisted. The child told her mother when she returned home, according to the complaint.

Cowles’ wife told authorities her husband had a loaded shotgun in bed in November, the same month he brought a funding proposal before the Anchorage Assembly. The woman said Cowles admitted he thought of hurting himself but couldn’t go through with it.

The complaint says Cowles was taken to a hospital for an evaluation in November. Regarding the shotgun, Cowles told police he had thought of shooting his family and then killing himself. He said he continued to have these thoughts after his hospital visit.

Cowles told police he called in sick the day after the New Year holiday because he didn’t want to go back to work. He said he had placed a filet knife, folding knife and a rope tied into a noose in a dresser drawer, and planned to stab his wife and daughter while they slept the previous night, and then kill himself, but was unable to do it.

On Jan. 2, Cowles drew the blinds after his wife left to mail the package, according to the complaint, which said Cowles planned to ambush is wife when she returned, and then hang himself. Then he coaxed his daughter to take a bath with the rubber ducky premise.

After unsuccessfully trying to push the girl’s head in the tub, Cowles turned on a movie for her, the complaint says.

“TODD explained the reason he wanted to kill his family and himself was to escape,” the document states.

Cowles is being held on $100,000 bail.


• This is an Associated Press report by Rachel D’Oro.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of May 22, 2022

Here’s what to expect this week.

Coast Guard aircrews medevaced two people from Dry Bay Airstrip, approximately 30 miles Southeast of Yakutat, Alaska, after their plane crashed, May 25, 2022. (Courtesy photo / Coast Guard District 17)
Three medevaced after plane crash near Yakutat

All four aboard were injured, three critically so.

The author’s appreciation for steelhead has turned into something like reverence considering what’s happening to populations in the Lower 48 and Canada. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: Silent steel

“You forget most of what ends up in the freezer, but those steelhead, they stick with you.”

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, seen here in this June 16, 2021, file photo, announced Wednesday he will not seek relelection in the Alaska State Senate, where he has served since 2013. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Senate president says he won’t run again

“Honor and a privilege.”

Hoonah’s Alaska Youth Stewards helped make improvements to Moby and water the plants in summer 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Jillian Schuyler)
Resilient Peoples & Place: Moby the Mobile Greenhouse cultivates community

It presents opportunities to grow food knowledge and skills.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, May 26, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Supreme Court orders use of interim map for elections

The decision came just over a week before the June 1 filing deadline for the August primaries.

Most Read