APD accuses 4 of hiding cage-beating suspect
Police have accused four people of hiding a suspect sought in the beating of a man who was delivered to a hospital in a wire kennel last summer.
According to an APD statement Friday morning, 29-year-old David Tiapula and three other people were initially charged with hindering prosecution.
By midday Friday, however, court records for the other three defendants showed their cases closed with no charging documents filed.
A charging document against Tiapula says officers saw Faamanu "Junior" Vaifanua, one of the beating suspects, leaving Tiapula's home on Thursday. Officers spoke with Tiapula, who "denied any knowledge of Vaifanua."
"Interviews with other individuals who live with Tiapula told officers that it is 'common knowledge' that Vaifanual lives with Tiapula," prosecutors wrote. "After officers observed Vaifanua leaving Tiapula's residence, APD attempted to stop Vaifanua, but Vaifanua eluded officers."
The incident stems from an August beating, in which police are still seeking three attempted-murder suspects: Faamanu Vaifanua, Macauther Vaifanua and Rex Faumui.
According to charging documents police obtained video footage showing victim Abshir Mohamed, 34, bound and gagged being beaten with an aluminum baseball bat with his hands tied behind his back.
Then, according to the documents, the video shows the suspects stuffing Mohamed, still bound, inside a wire dog crate that was loaded onto the back of a truck belonging to another man who has being held at gunpoint.
That man then drove Mohamed to the hospital, which police say the victim was found by medical personnel still inside the crate.
Prosecutors say a friend of the victim told police Mohamed owed one of the men a couple thousand dollars. The friend said he believed the money was for drugs.
Asked about the closed cases, APD spokesman MJ Thim said he hadn't heard of those decisions. He said people who hinder prosecution, as police say five people did in harboring a pair of Mountain View murder suspects last month, were "raising the public-safety threat" in Anchorage.
"What we have again, like the homicide suspects before, is people who were helping to harbor the suspects who we were looking for," Thim said. "They are enabling these criminals and we're going to hold them accountable, which is what we did."
Police urge anyone who has seen the Vaifanuas or Faumui not to approach them, because they are considered armed and dangerous. Instead, people should call 911 or contact Anchorage Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP or through its website.
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