Troopers investigating Kake girl’s death as a homicide

Alaska State Troopers are investigating Tuesday’s death of 13-year-old Mackenzie Howard of Kake as a homicide.

Spokeswoman Beth Ipsen says investigators are continuing to work in Kake today while awaiting results of an autopsy performed by the state Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage.

“The death does appear to be a homicide,” Ipsen said. “So we’re treating it like it is. We’re taking the necessary investigative steps, collecting evidence, talking to people. It’s just a matter of determining the cause of death.”

Ipsen did not know how long it would take to complete the autopsy.

Howard’s body was found about 11:30 p.m. in an arctic entry to Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kake.

Troopers have not identified any suspect or persons of interest. Ipsen says investigators are following up on all leads, but she says the rumor mill can slow things down.

“We have to look at the information coming in and determine whether or not it is truthful or factual or see where it goes,” she said.

Kake hosted a memorial service for community elder and longtime Sealaska Corporation official Clarence Jackson Tuesday, and many out of town guests were in the community for the funeral.

The community on the northwest corner of Kupreanof Island is home to about 600 residents. The city has no Police Department or Village Public Safety Officer.

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