Anchorage (KTUU) — David Cargill, a confidential informant in an Anchorage Police Department Vice Unit investigation whose body was discovered near the Eklutna Power Plant on Oct. 17, was a father who wanted to get drugs off the street to keep his teenage sons safe, according to his mother.
Deborah Cargill says she was watching television on the couch with David and her grandsons on an ordinary Sunday evening. It was approaching dinner time, and they needed an onion. David took the keys to the car and walked out the door on his way to the grocery store.
That night, Oct. 14, was the last time Deborah saw her son alive.
"I sent him out to get something and he never came home," Deborah said.
When Deborah realized something was wrong, she reported her son missing. That’s when she says the terrible wait for news began — news she would wait for until the following Friday, Oct. 19 that would come with a knock at her door.
"I knew when they came to the door that he was gone," she said.
Deborah says David began working with the APD Vice Unit in the summer. Investigators say he was making controlled purchases of drugs and guns at a business on 66th Avenue in Anchorage. His motivation? Deborah says David wanted to make the world safer for his two boys.
"When he decided to do this confidential informant thing, he thought that if you got rid of the drug dealers in the area, his two teenage sons would have a better place to live," Deborah said. "If he got the streets clean, then his kids would be safe too, from it, because he didn't want them to be like he had been."
There was another motive behind David’s decision to conduct such risky operations; his own battle with addiction. Deborah says her son was addicted to opioids prescribed to help him cope with complications with diabetes.
According to Deborah, the week David died he was supposed to start rehab to get off those opioids. But he had to see his role in the investigation through first, for the sake of his sons.
A criminal complaint regarding the arrest of two men in the 66th Avenue business reveal a curious chain of events. That complaint shows that three days after evidence was given to the attorney's representing the defendants including audio and video evidence of Cargill’s undercover purchases of drugs and guns, one of the defendants, Scotty Matai, knew Cargill was the informant. Within days of receiving the evidence, Cargill went missing.
Channel 2 asked a former Vice squad commander about how the unit keeps informants safe. Retired Sgt. Kathy Lacey says it's no secret that being an informant can be dangerous.
“That's the nature of the business, and they know that," Lacey said.
But deadly? Lacey says rarely.
Lacey says that in the tens years she oversaw the Vice Unit, none of the informants working with the unit were killed.
Lacey says police do a lot to protect witnesses -- withholding names, using only codes to identify them and going so far as to not reveal gender.
But those protections are not fail safe, especially once the trial process begins and evidence is shared.
According to those who knew David Cargill, the city of Anchorage has lost a loving father, son and friend. But his death was not in vain.
"I feel proud of him for what he was doing,” Deborah said. “I don't like the way it ended -- but I'm proud of what he was trying to do."
The last day Deborah saw her son, he drove the car that the two shared, a 2008 Chevy Trailblazer. Police had asked the public to be on the lookout for the vehicle, until it turned up in a blaze over the weekend. It would appear the vehicle was intentionally set on fire.
Deborah is now without a vehicle, as well as bearing the financial burden of losing her son, and taking care of his two teenage sons. For those who would like to lend a helping hand, visit Debbie's Gofundme page.