Noorvik Man Faces Kidnapping, Attempted Sexual Assault Charges in April Attack

An aerial view of Noorvik in August 2011. Photo: Thester11 via Wikimedia Creative Commons.
An aerial view of Noorvik in August 2011. Photo: Thester11 via Wikimedia Creative Commons.

A Noorvik man faces charges of burglary, kidnapping, and attempted sexual assault after being charged with breaking into a neighbor’s home, attacking a woman walking by, and dragging her inside the house.

It all happened on the morning of April 4 in Noorvik, a community of fewer than 700 people about 43 miles east of Kotzebue.

That’s when court documents allege 28-year-old Johnny Nazuruk broke into a home in the Kobuk River community, waited for the woman to walk by, and attacked her—before dragging her inside the broken-into house against her will.

A sworn statement from the woman Nazuruk allegedly attacked, as well as investigation from Noorvik village public safety officer John McCrary, say once Nazuruk pulled the woman inside, he threw her down and attacked her, punching and kicking her torso and head. Court documents say Nazuruk then tried to rip off the woman’s clothing. She continued to struggle as he turned to take off her boots. That’s when the woman says Nazuruk “raised up slightly” and she was able to “knee [him] in the groin” and run out of the house.

She fell on the steps leaving the home, just as court documents show Nazuruk caught her leg and tried to pull her back inside. She screamed for help, alerting a local man walking by on his way to work. As the man approached the struggle, investigators say Nazuruk ran back into the house and locked the door. The man then walked the woman home.

Days later, the woman told her story to VPSO McCrary, who interviewed witnesses and sought to arrest Nuzurak—but by then he was already in Nome’s Anvil Mountain Correctional Center, arrested in April  on separate charges of resisting arrest.

In all Nazuruk faces five felony charges for the alleged April attack, including burglary, assault, and attempted sexual assault. He also faces one felony charge for kidnapping and one for attempted kidnapping. Nazuruk’s criminal record includes multiple assault convictions, as well as a felony burglary conviction in 2012.

He formally heard the charges in the Nome court Sunday, April 17, and had a first appearance for the Kotzebue court the following day. He remains in custody at AMCC.

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Matthew Smith is a reporter at KNOM in Nome.

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