Search for Kotzebue girl shifts to law enforcement investigation

Ashley Johnson-Barr was reported missing in Kotzebue after she was last seen Thursday, Sept. 6. (Photo Courtesy Walter "Scotty" Barr)
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KOTZEBUE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska State Troopers say the search for 10-year-old Ashley Johnson-Barr has shifted its focus from searching to the law enforcement investigation.

AST Lt. David Hanson was joined by the Kotzebue Police chief and an FBI supervisor, and read a statement Thursday morning saying many search and law enforcement resources would stay in the northwest Alaskan community, but "given the length of time that Ashley has been missing, combined with the exhaustive search efforts that have taken place, as of this morning, we are shifting our focus toward the ongoing law enforcement investigation, including whether criminal activity may have been involved in Ashley's disappearance."

Hanson said that Troopers would continue focused search efforts, particularly near water.

Jonathon Taylor, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, says some volunteer crews will still be out searching targeted neighborhood areas today, but the need for volunteers and the areas un-trained volunteers will be able to search is winding down.

Boats, planes, and search K9s have been involved in the search for Ashley.

Wednesday night, community members gathered to pray in Rainbow Park, the last place the girl was seen. Community members brought signs sending messages of love.

Hanson said the additional law enforcement resources will remain, and the search and investigation will be continued.

"We are confident that someone in this community knows what happened to Ashley and needs to share that information with us," he said.

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