As the search for Kotzebue 10-year-old Ashley Johnson-Barr continues, Alaska State Troopers are now expanding the investigation and looking to see if possible criminal activity may be involved in her disappearance.

Ashley went missing the night of Thursday, September 6. Since then, dozens of volunteers have searched the town. 

Alaska Department of Public Safety spokesman Jonathan Taylor said teams had been putting an equal number of resources into both the investigation and the search and rescue effort; beginning Thursday Troopers will primarily focus on the investigation.


“Law enforcement firmly believes someone in this community knows something, has information about Ashley’s whereabouts or details about when she was last seen,” said Taylor.

Three K-9 search teams are currently in Kotzebue.

The FBI has 17 agents on the case, including people from the Lower 48 who specialize in missing children cases.

In a press release this morning, Jonathan Taylor with the Alaska Department of Public Safety said law enforcement officers are still following up on leads but they need the public’s help.

“We are confident that someone in this community knows what happened to Ashley and needs to come forward and share that information with us,” Taylor said.

Troopers worked with the FBI, Kotzebue Police, Alaska Incident Management Team and the Northwest Arctic Borough Village Public Safety Officer.

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