Alaska State Troopers last Friday filed charges of disorderly conduct, creating hazardous conditions, against a Port Graham man reported missing at sea the afternoon of Nov. 30 near Passage Island south of Homer.
Troopers found the man, Ryan Meganack, 34, in a makeshift camp outside Port Graham after receiving a tip that Meganack faked his drowning. Troopers also charged Meganack for violating conditions of release for not being with his third-party custodian and arrested him on that charge last Friday.
“It’s more than just a search and rescue being involved with the man found safe,” said trooper spokesperson Megan Peters.
According to a criminal complaint filed by Trooper Sgt. Daniel Cox, at about 2 p.m. Nov. 30, troopers went to assist the U.S. Coast Guard in a search for Meganack after he had been reported missing. He was reported to have left in a skiff from Port Graham and was last seen between 1 and 2 a.m. Wednesday. Troopers, the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Village of Port Graham mounted a search on Wednesday.
The search involved air crews from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak and boats from the troopers, NOAA, Alaska State Parks, the Village of Port Graham and citizen volunteers. Ground parties from Port Graham also searched the shoreline from Nanwalek to Port Graham the evening of Nov. 30.
A helicopter crew found Meganack’s skiff swamped with the engine down and keys in the ignition. The helicopter crew continued to search until poor weather forced them to return to base Nov. 30. Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers in the P/V Augustine continued the search Dec. 1.
Late last Thursday troopers got the tip that Meganack might be hiding outside Port Graham. Troopers discovered Meganack was supposed to report to the Anchorage Court on Monday for a sentencing hearing and a 5-year sentence. Meganack was charged and arrested in January 2015 on one count of first-degree sexual assault and four counts of second-degree sexual assault. Meganack also is a registered sex offender for a 2002 crime of sexual abuse of a minor.
On Friday, troopers went to Port Graham and contacted a woman friend of Meganack. She said he faked his drowning to avoid going to jail, Sgt. Cox wrote in the criminal complaint. The woman said Meganack took his seine skiff out and sunk it, then picked her up in his large boat, anchored the boat up the bay and walked back to town. Meganack made a shelter with a tarp, tent and branches and hid out there during the search.
Troopers went to the area of the makeshift shelter and found Meganack and arrested him.
In his complaint, Cox said weather during the search had winds 10-40 mph and seas 3-8 feet. About 10 boats searched for him and the Coast Guard flew two helicopter missions in marginal weather conditions. Community members also searched on shore on wet, icy and slipper rocks and ledges, Cox wrote.
Meganack was arraigned at the Homer Courthouse on Monday. He pleaded not guilty before Magistrate Martin Fallon. Fallon also ordered Meganack to be taken to the Anchorage Jail.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.