Autopsy: Spenard victim did not suffer gunshot wounds
Anchorage Police say autopsy results show the woman who died in Spenard last week did not die from gunshots despite previous reports from police.
Investigators determined 48-year-old Patricia Phelps was not shot and actually died from the force of being unintentionally hit by a vehicle, police say.
According to police spokesman MJ Thim, “Investigators have received multiple tips from the public about this investigation, including the person of interest and witness and continue to seek more.”
In APD’s original report, Phelps was found dead at about 9 p.m. Wednesday in the yard of a condo complex near 36th Avenue and Oregon Drive, police spokesman MJ Thim said Monday. She had been shot and then hit by a vehicle, which then crashed into the complex; officers spoke with its driver and didn’t detain him, Thim said Friday, because investigators know where to find him.
Words on a cross placed over the weekend at the homicide scene, referring to Phelps as “Ms. Patty,” asked her to “RIP in God’s hand.”
Police initially said Phelps’ death appeared to be drug-related, but Thim declined to discuss why investigators thought that was the case. It wasn’t yet clear Monday whether she had been killed by the gunfire or being struck by the vehicle.
Investigators are still hoping to speak with two people seen on surveillance video in the area on Wednesday, including a “person of interest” seen leaving the area on a motorcycle traveling through an alley toward West 33rd Avenue.
A man who said he witnessed the shooting told KTVA last week that a motorcyclist had pulled up next to an SUV, in which Phelps had been a passenger, then opened fire on it.
The second person, sought by police as a witness, is a man last seen walking east on West 36th Avenue toward Minnesota Drive.
Anyone with information on either person’s whereabouts is asked to contact either Anchorage police at 907-786-8900, or Anchorage Crime Stoppers at 907-561-STOP or through its website.