UPDATE: Body found in Bethel; Woman’s boyfriend charged with first-degree murder
Updated Tuesday, May 26, 4:45 p.m.
A 24-year-old Bethel man was arraigned Tuesday on one count of first-degree murder after his girlfriend’s body was found early Sunday morning near the boardwalk at Pinky’s Park.
At around 4 a.m. Sunday, the Bethel Police Department responded to reports of a dead body found at Pinky’s Park. When officers arrived to the area, they found the remains of a female left in a “pit” in nearby bushes, according to a release from Bethel police.
Alaska State Troopers from Anchorage were sent to the scene to work with Bethel police on the case.
The female has been identified as 23-year-old Eunice Whitman, of Bethel. The cause of death has yet to be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office, but police say it appears she sustained multiple stab wounds. Charging documents say her shirt and jacket were soiled with blood.
Sunday night, Bethel police identified 24-year-old Justine Paul — Whitman’s boyfriend — as a suspect in the incident. This was after Paul called police “stating that he couldn’t find his girlfriend,” charging documents say. When police interviewed Paul, they saw he had a small drop of blood on his right shoe and a small cut on his cheek. His hands also appeared to be swollen.
Surveillance footage from around 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning shows Paul “going into a closet inside the Alaska Commercial Quick Stop Apartments,” the documents say. A witness told police when he saw Paul there with blood on his clothing, he told him to leave — which matches the surveillance footage. Paul then left the scene.
Paul’s aunt told police Paul showed up at their residence, located on 9421 Tundra Ridge, around 11 a.m. with a backpack saying he wanted to do laundry.
When police searched Paul’s residence, they found bloody clothing inside the backpack, the documents say. Police also collected forensic evidence from Paul.
Paul was arrested for first-degree murder and taken to the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center. He was arraigned Tuesday.
Police stress that this is still an active investigation. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call the Bethel police at (907) 543-3781 and speak with Sgt. Amy Davis.
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