Body of second missing snowmachiner recovered in Big Lake

Laverne and Van Pettigen (Courtesy LaTisha Pettigen)
By  | 

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Alaska State Troopers have recovered the body of a second missing snowmachiner in their search for a missing couple in Big Lake.

The body of 66-year-old Vanton Pettigen was found in water and ice Saturday morning shortly before noon after the body of his wife, 64-year-old LaVerne Pettigen, was recovered Friday morning.

AST said Vanton Pettigen's body was finally recovered around 1 o'clock in the afternoon, just 25 yards from where LaVerne Pettigen was found barely 24 hours prior.

The Pettigens have been missing since the weekend. Their daughter said they planned an afternoon ride on Friday, and one of the two made contact with someone by cell phone on Sunday.

Dozens of volunteers scoured the Big Lake area trails Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, Troopers returned to a more targeted area based on information they found.

AST advises that people "stay clear of the area of Burston Island on Big Lake due to unsafe ice conditions," per a release from the department.