Alaska State Troopers say the second of two Southeast Alaska searches for missing men this week has also ended with the discovery of a body after an apparent suicide, in twin blows to families in Haines and Sitka.
According to a Friday AST dispatch, Sitka searchers found 19-year-old Scott Falzerano’s body near an Indian River cross trail at about 9:30 a.m. Friday.
“No foul play is suspected and the Sitka Police Department has taken over the investigation at this time,” troopers wrote.
Sitka Police Chief Sheldon Schmitt says police were alerted to the body's discovery by Sitka Mountain Rescue personnel.
"We responded and discovered Mr. Falzerano dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," Schmitt said.
While Schmitt says Friday's news brings closure for Falzerano's family, he regretted its nature.
"It's tragic for the community, such a young person," Schmitt said. "You would hope people would reach out if they're having suicidal thoughts, but unfortunately that's not what happened."
A family member saw Falzerano heading into woods behind his residence at about 11 a.m. Monday; he was reported missing Tuesday. Troopers and volunteers made an extensive search of the Indian River Valley area for Falzerano, but weren’t immediately able to find him.
Falzerano’s next of kin have been notified. Troopers thanked members of Sitka Mountain Rescue and other volunteers for helping with the search for him.
The news comes two days after word that 26-year-old Jonathan Ward’s body was recovered, in a similar but separate case, from near the Southeast State Fairgrounds in Haines. Ward was last seen leaving his home early Friday.
Troopers were informed that Ward was intoxicated at the time he left, and believe his death was a suicide after two guns were found near his body.