Update: Homer Police on Tuesday identifed the man found dead on the Homer Spit last Saturday. He is Jeff Wraley, 56, of Homer. Next of kin has been identified. No foul play is suspected.
Homer Police have enlisted the help of the Alaska Medical Examiner’s office in identifying a man found dead on the Homer Spit about 12:45 p.m. Saturday. A beach walker saw the man partially hidden in rocks southeast of Mariner Park.
“He just happened to see part of the man’s head sticking up,” Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said of the beach walker.
The white man appeared to be in his mid-50s to early 60s. He had no identification on him, Robl said. The man appeared to have scrambled over the rocks about halfway between the Homer Spit Road and the beach and attempted to hide. The man died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“It seems like he’s trying to hide his disappearance from someone for some reason,” Robl said.
Police did not recognize the man from any previous encounters. Police also have no reports of people who might have seen the man earlier, or of things like an abandoned campsite or vehicle. Police also have not received any recent reports of a missing person. Robl said the man appeared to have been dead about 12 to 16 hours.
The body was sent to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy and attempts at identification. Robl said fingerprints would be taken to see if there’s a match in state and national records, but that would only be possible if the man had already had his fingerprints entered into databases. If the man could not be identified by fingerprints, the medical examiner would then attempt to identify him by DNA or dental records.
Police also will get a more accurate description of the man from the medical examiner, with details like eye color, body weight and height. Robl said if the medical examiner cannot make an identification through fingerprints, police will issue a bulletin seeking help from other law enforcement agencies and the public.
Anyone who might have information about the man is asked to call the Homer Police at 907-235-3150, Robl said.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.