An autopsy report means more hard news for a Juneau family.
Shirley Skeek, 28, formerly of Juneau and Kake but most recently of Anchorage, died as a result of homicide, according to an autopsy report from the Alaska State Medical Examiner’s Office, troopers said in an online dispatch shared Monday.
Skeek’s slaying is the latest in chain of tragic events involving the Skeek family, said Amy Skeek, Shirley’s younger sister and a Juneau resident, in a phone interview Tuesday.
“It’s been a rough few years for my family,” Amy Skeek said.
Thomas Skeek, Amy’s brother, was charged with murder in the 2016 disappearance of his wife, Linda, and was found not guilty of all charges by an Anchorage jury.
“After that, not even a month after that, my grandma had passed away,” Amy Skeek said. “She had fallen and broken her neck in a senior center in Kake. Then, my mom passed away under a bridge here in Juneau. She had a heart attack. Then, my brother, Arnold, drowned in Auke Bay. Then, my dad passed away. It’s just been really tough for my family.”
News of the autopsy report came to the family Dec. 4, Amy Skeek said.
“We were all definitely in shock,” Amy Skeek said. “We were all in disbelief. It was a really really kind of a weird feeling because we were kind of relieved to at least have found her body and know that we could bring her home.”
Amy Skeek said home for her sister is Kake.
Alaska State Troopers did not return multiple calls seeking comment. Troopers did not indicate how Shirley Skeek died in their statement online and did not name any suspects.
Shirley Skeek was reported missing almost a year ago — Jan. 2, 2019, according to troopers — and Amy Skeek said her sister had been out of contact with her family since December 2018.
“We knew right away, when the calls from her stopped coming, that something was wrong,” Amy Skeek said.
Shirley Skeek’s remains were found in late May off the highway near Hope Cut-off, troopers said. The remains were identified this month via dental records. Amy Skeek said she was told body parts were found rather than an entire body.
“It wasn’t all of her that they found,” Amy Skeek said.
Shirley Skeek was diagnosed with schizophrenia, Amy Skeek said, and was living in Anchorage to have access to an assisted living facility since the family was unable to find room for Shirley Skeek in a Juneau facility.
“I was not comfortable with the idea of her going to Anchorage,” Amy Skeek said. “She suffered a lot of her adult life with addiction to alcohol and drugs. It sucks that I was right.”
Despite those struggles, Amy Skeek said her sister was kind and regularly made the honor role as a young student.
“She was the best auntie ever,” Amy Skeek said. “Any time she made money, she would spend it on her family.”
Amy Skeek said when she received the news her sister was killed, she thought of the prevalence of violence against Alaska Native Women and recent murders in the Anchorage area.
A National Institute of Justice study found more than 84 % of Alaska Native women experienced violence.
Amy Skeek said her sister’s remains are currently in Texas for forensic testing.
“I really hope that we can get some answers from forensics and find out who did this to her,” Amy Skeek said.
Amy Skeek said her sister was last seen in December 2018 getting into a black truck outside of Bean’s Cafe, an Anchorage soup kitchen located on Third Avenue.
However, in the dispatch, troopers asked anyone with information regarding Skeek or her disappearance to call 269-5611 or share information via Crime Stoppers at 561-7867 or online at anchoragecrimestoppers.com/.
• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt