Trauma talk to be held for missing woman

This undated photo of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane shows her wearing the blue jacket and carrying the plaid purse similar to how she appeared in an Oct. 17, 2019 security camera photo taken in Homer, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Sara and Ed Berg)

This undated photo of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane shows her wearing the blue jacket and carrying the plaid purse similar to how she appeared in an Oct. 17, 2019 security camera photo taken in Homer, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Sara and Ed Berg)

The friends and family of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, a Homer woman missing since late 2019, will hold another community community conversation, “Responding to Trauma.”

The talk will focus on trauma and responding to trauma, and will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center Seminar Room.

At the talk, Jay Bechtol and Dave Eckwert with South Peninsula Behavioral Health Services will lead the discussion. A social worker, Bechtol is the executive director of South Peninsula Behavioral Health Services and has spent the last 30 years working with children, adults and families. Eckwert also is a social worker licensed in Missouri, California and Alaska, and provides therapeutic services in multiple settings.

“Together, they will lead a conversation about dealing with grief, loss, anxiety and other issues that may arise during traumatic situation of events, like Duffy’s disappearance,” Christina Whiting, a spokesperson for Murnane’s family, wrote in a press release. “They will also answer questions and provide insight into healthy ways to deal with trauma.”

Family and friends of Murnane started an awareness campaign last week to maintain interest in Murnane’s case by putting out tins of blue ribbons around town. People are encouraged to take a ribbon and wear it in honor of Murnane. Blue is her favorite color. Tins can be found at Captain’s Coffee, Fritz Creek General Store, Grace Ridge Brewing, Homer Bookstore, Independent Living Center, K-Bay Caffe, Safeway, Two Sisters Bakery, Ulmers Drug & Hardware, Latitude 59 and the Pratt Museum. People or businesses wanting ribbons or tins can contact Whiting by email at alaskachristina@gmail.com.

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

She 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 previous community meeting on Feb. 13, Homer Police Lt. Ryan Browning, the lead investigator in the case, 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.

Browning said police don’t have any solid leads or suspects in the case.

At the meeting, Browning urged people who had any information about Murnane’s disappearance to call police at 907-235-3150 as soon as possible. People should not post tips as comments on social media, he said.

“If it doesn’t look right, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call,” Browning said.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

Tins with blue ribbons were placed on Feb. 26, 2020, around Homer, Alaska, for people to wear as part of an awareness campaign for a missing Homer woman, Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, missing since Oct. 17, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Christina Whiting)

Tins with blue ribbons were placed on Feb. 26, 2020, around Homer, Alaska, for people to wear as part of an awareness campaign for a missing Homer woman, Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, missing since Oct. 17, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Christina Whiting)

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