The Anchorage Police Department is investigating a spike in homeless deaths during one 12 hour period Monday night through Tuesday morning.
“All of the individuals are male, they all appear to homeless,” said APD spokesperson Anita Shell.
According to Shell, mental health and substance abuse issues are suspected to have contributed to at least one death, but officials will wait for autopsy reports to come back before making a final ruling.
Police are not investigating any connections.
The cases happened in different parts of town, two of them at separate camps near park trails.
The third person was reported at 6:30am by the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Karluk Street. “He was found deceased in that area next to a chain-link fence,” Shell said. “We don’t have any indications at this time that they are linked or related in any way.”
While it’s unusual for three people to pass away outdoors in such a short amount of time, officials generally handle up to six death notifications in a given day.
“The Anchorage Police Department services a very large area,” Shell said. “Unfortunately we have to respond to deaths on a daily basis, and so it may appear that this is a large number, but what you don’t see is all of the other death notifications that the police department does have to make on a daily basis.”
Police have identified the decedents as Destry Murphy of Indiana, and 34-year-old Harry O. Oxereok Jr. of Anchorage, but are waiting until next of kin have been notified before releasing information on the third man.