Charging documents say an Alaska man had the cellphone of missing 10-year-old girl, and GPS coordinates of where the phone had traveled led police to the girl’s body.
Peter Wilson of Kotzebue was formally charged Monday with making false statements as police tried to find Ashley Johnson-Barr, who had been missing since Sept. 6. Her body was found Friday.
Wilson will make his first appearance in U.S. District Court in Anchorage on Tuesday. Online court records do not list an attorney for Wilson.
An affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Michael Watson says it appears the girl was murdered, but her death remains under investigation.
The affidavit says Wilson lied to investigators when he denied knowing Ashley, even though they are related.
Residents in the remote Inupiat Eskimo town helped search for the girl in vain. The FBI sent 17 investigators to the community of 3,100 people on Alaska’s northwestern coast.
Court records show investigators used cellphone records to find Johnson-Barr’s body. Wilson provided Johnson-Barr’s cellphone to police, saying he found it in the street. That was a lie, prosecutors say, and an FBI agent who interviewed Wilson uncovered other inconsistencies in his statements.
Wilson said he didn’t drive a four-wheeler on the day Johnson-Barr went missing. Other witnesses told the FBI that Wilson used one to leave his home for about two hours that day.
Cellphone records provided by GCI to police indicate that Johnson-Barr’s cellphone traveled from Rainbow Park — where the girl was last seen — to a brushy location two miles east of town. That was where police and the FBI found her body.
In Kotzebue, Terri Walker, assistant superintendent of the Northwest Arctic Borough School District, said counselors were on hand at the girl’s school for students who needed them.