Updated Sunday, Sept. 27, 2:15 p.m.

AST spokeswoman Megan Peters has confirmed that 41-year-old Joseph Melton was the man found during the Saturday search for missing Anchorage man Kevin Mitchell.

Troopers located a Chevrolet Tahoe parked in the woods out of view from the Seward Highway near Mile 87.5. There, they found Melton “deceased as the result of an apparent suicide,” AST wrote in an online dispatch Sunday.

Melton was wanted on an arrest warrant after Anchorage police say he allegedly sexually assaulted a teenager at a sleepover. Troopers say the discovery of Melton’s body is completely unrelated to the search for Mitchell.

Next of kin have been notified, and Melton’s body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy.

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide, Alaska has a 24-hour care line: 1-877-266-4357. More information about where to turn for help is available here.

Original story

Anchorage police are looking for a man they say sexually assaulted a 13-year-old at a sleepover.

Police say the 13-year-old girl went to a friend’s house for a sleepover. The father of the friend knows the wanted man, identified by the Anchorage Police Department as 41-year-old Joseph Frederick Melton.

Melton was in the house during the time of the sleepover, an APD release says, adding that “Melton sexually assaulted the 13-year-old and then subsequently broke his own cell phone in an attempt to keep the victim from calling her parents.”

The 13-year-old reported the assault to people in the home and to her parents as well. Police say the girl’s father received a stalking order against Melton, prohibiting him from having any contact with the girl.

“Since the order was served, Melton has contacted the victim in person and has given her gifts,” APD says. “All indications are that Melton has a fixation on this particular 13-year-old girl and police are concerned for her safety specifically.”

Police say there don’t appear to be any other victims besides the 13-year-old girl — but would like to be contacted if that’s not the case.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Melton on second-degree sexual assault of a minor, a felony, and two counts of violating a restraining order.

APD says Melton is aware of the arrest warrant and is actively trying to avoid being caught.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call APD at 786-8900 or Detective Torres at 786-8573. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP.

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