Special investigator starts work on Murnane case

A new investigator with the Homer Police Department hired to help find missing woman Anesha “Duffy” Murnane has put out an appeal for anyone who might have seen her the week before she went missing on Oct. 17, 2019.

Investigator Matt Haney was a former Homer Police lieutenant who left the city in 2000. He has experience investigating missing people in Washington and other U.S. states. In particular, he seeks information from anyone who might have attended a talk about Grewingk Glacier on Oct. 16, 2019, by her stepfather, Ed Berg, at the Pratt Museum. Murnane is known to have been at the talk. Haney is trying to locate anyone who might have seen Murnane then or noticed people she talked to.

Berg also received the Land at Heart award on Oct. 12, 2019, at the annual Kachemak Heritage Land Trust fundraising gala at Wasabi’s Bistro. It is unknown if Murnane attended that talk, but it is possible considering Berg had been there. Haney also seeks information from anyone who attended that fundraiser and might have seen Murnane.

“I want to nail down what she was doing the week in her life before her disappearance,” Haney said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “That’s my major focus right now.”

In an email, Berg also put out an appeal for information about anyone who was at his Grewingk Glacier talk. That event was the last time Murnane would have had any social contact outside her apartment complex.

“Who did she chat with at that meeting? Did she look OK? What did she say?” Berg wrote in the email. “Even if you didn’t see or speak with Duffy, we would like to know if you were present. This is admittedly a long shot, but after five months, long shots are all we have left.”

Anyone who might have information about Murnane can call Haney at the Homer Police Department at 235-3150.

Murnane, 38, has been missing since Oct. 17, 2019, after she was last seen in a security camera image leaving her Main Street apartment. Murnane’s mother is Sara Berg.

Murnane disappeared after leaving her Main Street apartment for an appointment at the SVT Health & Wellness clinic on East End Road. The last confirmed sighting is a security camera photo showing her leaving the Maintree Apartments, a supported housing complex, about 12:15 p.m. that day. Murnane had a 1 p.m. appointment at SVT Health and Wellness Center, about a 1-mile walk from her home. She did not show up for that appointment.

Homer Police and Alaska State Troopers issued a Silver Alert for Murnane on Oct. 19 after she was reported missing that day. Anyone with information on her whereabouts can call Homer Police at 907-235-3150 or the Silver Alert hotline at 855-SILVR99 or 855-745-8799. A Silver Alert is for an adult considered a vulnerable person.

Murnane was wearing a blue jacket, light-blue shirt and blue jeans the last time she was seen. She is almost 6 feet tall, weighs about 160 pounds and has shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes. She carried a pink-and-black plaid purse with a shoulder strap and carried her wallet, cell phone and identification. Police said she does not drive or own a vehicle and got around by walking. Earlier this month the family released a photo taken before her disappearance that shows Murnane wearing that same jacket and carrying that purse.

The weekend after Murnane went missing, search and rescue dog teams from Anchorage tracked her in the downtown area, picking up scents from Main Street to Lee Drive, Svedlund Street, Pioneer Avenue and Kachemak Way. Search dogs followed strong scents to Pioneer Avenue area near Cosmic Kitchen, in front of Homer’s Jeans and the Kachemak Bay Campus. There the dogs acted as if there had been what search dog handlers call a “car pick up.”

The Bergs have said they believed their daughter has been abducted.

At a community meeting on Feb. 13, Homer Police Lt. Ryan Browning said police are classifying Murnane as a missing person “because we don’t have anything to say she is abducted,” he said.

“We are treating this as if she was abducted,” he added.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.