10-Year-Old Alaska Native Girl Found Dead after Being Missing for 8 Days

Ashley Johnson-Barr, 10, did not return home after going outside to play Thursday afternoon, the mayor of the borough in Kotzebue said. (Photo provided by Kotzebue Police Department)

Published September 15, 2018

Third Most Read Story in Native News Online in 2018

KOTZEBUE. ALASKA — Residents of Kotzebue, Alaska, a primarily Alaska Native community in the Northwest Arctic Borough, are mourning the death of 10-year-old Ashley Barr-Johnson who was missing for eight days.

She was last seen alive while playing in a Kotzebue park and never made it home.

After she was reported missing, a massive search party, including state-volunteer law enforcement agencies and volunteers throughout the region has been underway for days for over a week.

Alaska law enforcement officials released the following statement after her body was discovered on Friday:

“After eight days, the search for Ashley has come to an unfortunate end. Late this afternoon, Ashley was located deceased by law enforcement and volunteer canvas teams in an area east of the City of Kotzebue. Alaska State Troopers, the FBI, Kotzebue Police Department, and the Northwest Arctic Borough extend our sincerest condolences to Ashley’s family, friends, and community.”

Johnson-Barr’s father, Walter “Scotty” Barr wrote in a text message earlier Friday that his daughter was a “very happy person” who “always had a smile no matter what.”

Ashley liked playing basketball and went to church every week, Barr wrote. She loved to use her allowance to buy things for her friends, he said. She loved her niece and was “willing to do anything for her.”

After she went missing 17 FBI agents went to Kotzebue to assist in the investigation with hopes Ashley would be found alive.

On Friday evening, the FBI reported a 41-year-old has been arrested in connection to the disappearance of Ashley.

According to an email sent Friday night, Peter Wilson, of Kotzebue “is facing charges of making false statements to a federal agent. He’s being transferred to Anchorage to face these charges.”


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