The 41-year-old man, Peter Wilson of Kotzebue, Alaska, that was arrested for making false statements to a federal agent, has now been formally charged with the murder, kidnapping and sexual abuse of the 10-year-old Kotzebue girl Ashley Johnson-Barr.
Johnson-Barr was last been seen on Thursday September 6th playing at a playground, and her remains were found more than a week after she was reported missing.
According to AP, and reports from Alaska State law officials, prosecutors charged Peter Wilson of Kotzebue with first-degree murder, kidnapping, sexual abuse of a minor and tampering with evidence Monday. An autopsy additionally revealed signs of strangulation, sexual abuse, and DNA evidence that linked him to the crime.
Wilson had pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges of making false statements as FBI agents and others searched for Ashley in Kotzebue. Wilson was charged on Monday. The state’s charges came after Ashley’s Johnson-Barr’s family had requested that legal actions be placed on hold until her funeral on Saturday.
According to John Skidmore, criminal division director for the state Department of Law, Wilson had taken the cellphone from Johnson-Barr and had lied to investigators when he had previously claimed he found the phone on the ground. The cellphone was later found inside the jacket pocket of Wilson.
Additionally, Wilson had lied to investigators about knowing the young girl and about using a four-wheeler the day she has disappeared.
According to authorities, Wilson had vanished for about two hours the day that Johnson-Barr went missing. She was reportedly found on tundra outside of the town concealed by alder and willow brush.
The family had previously thanked the public and the local community for the outpouring of support and organized walks and candlelight vigils. They had asked all those who were participating to wear purple, in honor of Ashley’s favorite color.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling
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