Chevy TrailBlazer wanted in homicide investigation goes up in flames
Anchorage police are piecing together clues in an investigation that started with a body last week, then turned up a torched car on Sunday.
The case was announced Friday after a body was found on Oct. 17 at the Eklutna Power Plant.
Police identified the victim Saturday as 35-year-old David Cargill of Anchorage and announced they were looking for a 2008 blue Chevrolet TrailBlazer, with an Alaska license plate JJR552, in connection to the case.
Around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Laura Witham awoke to a car horn and saw a vehicle in flames in the area of Northwood Street and Country Woods Drive.
After calling 911, she recorded video of the fire with her phone, gasping in reaction to fiery pops and bursts.
"Oh no, please don't catch the trees on fire!" Witham can be heard whispering.
Witham said she initially thought someone's car had overheated, but later learned the now charred vehicle was a potential piece of evidence in a homicide investigation.
"You can see how close the branches are to where the flames are licking up. And then there's houses over there and there's houses over there. They could have caused so much more damage," said Witham.
She said the ordeal was unsettling for the neighborhood, and the case brings to mind frustrations over SB91, Alaska's controversial crime reform law.
"Oh, we're mad. We are mad," said Witham.
She said while she knows SB91 is not directly responsible for the homicide or the car fire, she believes the reform has emboldened criminals.
"Most people blame SB91, and I think that there's reason to blame SB91 because we've seen the direct effects from that. I think one of the main problems that mentality has created is the people who do things like this can get away with whatever they want, and then we, the citizens of Anchorage, are left to suffer those consequences that the bad guys should be suffering, and so we're angry," said Witham.
Alaska State Troopers took the lead on the case initially, then transferred the case once they found evidence that the crime happened in APD's jurisdiction.
APD communications director MJ Thim said Monday a medical examiner concluded Cargill died as a result of being shot twice in the upper body.
KTVA has previously reported Cargill as the suspect in a sex abuse case. According to the 2015 report:
Anchorage police received a report on Aug. 28 stating David Cargill, who was 31 years old at the time, had sought drugs and "sex for money to a minor that was he knew inside of a vehicle" in the Muldoon area.
The APD Crimes Against Children Unit investigated the allegations, and on Sept. 29, charged Cargill with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, according to online court records.
The case didn't show up in a search of online court records Monday, but an APD spokesperson confirmed the same David Cargill was both the suspect in the 2015 case and the victim in last week's homicide.
KTVA reached out to the Anchorage District Attorney's Office to learn how the charges were resolved.
According to David's mother Deborah Cargill, those charges were dismissed.
APD has not released any suspect information but asks that anyone with information about the shooting or the vehicle fire come forward.
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