Troopers confirm body found in Palmer is David Grunwald
Last updated at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6
Following a weekend of mourning and new questions about his disappearance, Alaska State Troopers say the remains found Friday belong to 16-year-old David Grunwald.
The State Medical Examiner’s office conducted an autopsy after the body was found and tentatively identified as Grunwald. On Tuesday, troopers said the ME had confirmed his identity and determined his manner of death was homicide.
Court documents released Monday revealed that Grunwald had been beaten and then taken against his will to Knik River Road area, where he was later found. Once there, he was shot once and killed.
Troopers arrested 16-year-old Erick Almandinger and charged him with first-degree murder and kidnapping, but charging documents show others were involved. As of Tuesday afternoon, no new charges had been filed in the case.
Grunwald’s next of kin have been notified of his death.
Updated at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3
Alaska State Troopers say it is likely the remains of missing 16-year-old David Grunwald have been found. Additionally, at least one teenager now faces charges of kidnapping and murder in connection to the case.
Human remains were found in the Knik River Road area near Palmer around 2 p.m. on Friday, according to an online trooper dispatch.
“The remains have been sent the Office of the State Medical Examiner for confirmation of identity and a determination of cause and manner of death,” troopers wrote.
As the investigation continues, troopers also noted that 16-year-old Palmer resident Erick Almandinger was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping as an adult in connection to the case.
“Others involved in this incident have been identified but have not been charged as of yet,” troopers added.
AST spokesman Timothy Despain said no new details would be released from troopers about the case over the weekend.
Grunwald was first reported missing late Nov. 13 when he didn’t come home after dropping his girlfriend off at her home. His truck was found abandoned and burned the next day on a trail near Schrock Road.
Brenda Paradise, a private investigator involved in the case on the Grunwalds’ behalf, said law enforcement has been phenomenal throughout the investigation, but still need the public’s help in finishing this case.
“The people that are calling in on the tip line are giving a big puzzle and they’re putting a puzzle together, and now we’ve got the border,” she said of the investigation. “Everything’s really starting to fall into place. And it’s coming up with one big picture. And law enforcement needs your help in getting a solid conviction.”
She urged anyone with any information about the case, even the smallest of details, to call police or the David Grunwald tipline: 907-290-5999.
“This is just the beginning. This isn’t the end,” she said. “This is the beginning for answers for the family. This is the beginning of justice for David. And this is the beginning — it’s time for people to start calling in.”
Paradise encouraged parents to know who their children’s friends are, and know what they are up to on social media.
“If this is David that they found today, I don’t want his death to go in vain,” she said. “Now it’s time to make some changes in the community.”
Condolences for the Grunwald family can be sent to PO Box 896, Palmer, Alaska 99645.
KTVA 11’s Eric Ruble contributed to this report.
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