Former Homer resident kidnapped, murdered woman missing since 2019, police say

a woman sits on the beach
Anesha “Duffy” Murnane. (Homer Police Department)

A former Alaska resident living in Utah has been charged with kidnapping and murdering a Homer woman who disappeared in 2019.

Authorities arrested Kirby Calderwood, 32, in Ogden, Utah on Monday, according to a statement from the Homer Police Department.

The charges against Calderwood are the first public explanation of what happened to Anesha “Duffy” Murnane since she went missing in October 2019.

Homer police “actively investigated the case ever since, chasing down hundreds of tips and talking to numerous people,” the police statement says. The department also hired an investigator whose sole job was to track down Murnane.

Murnane, 38 at the time, was last seen in downtown Homer walking to an appointment that she never arrived at. Searchers on foot and on ATVs, as well as by air in a helicopter, were unable to find her. Based on tracks by search dogs, police said at the time it appeared someone in a vehicle had picked up Murnane.

That is alleged to have been Calderwood.

a mugshot of a man
Kirby Calderwood, 32, following his arrest in Ogden, Utah on Monday. (Homer Police Department)

According to the charges, here’s what police say led them to Calderwood:

Calderwood had been considered a person of interest in the case in May 2021, but the charges do not explain why.

Then, an anonymous tipster in April 2022 gave specific information about Murnane’s disappearance that had not been revealed publicly and named Calderwood as the person responsible. Among other things, the tipster said Calderwood still had a watch that belonged to Murnane.

Two of Calderwood’s ex-wives and his ex-girlfriend in Homer told an investigator, in separate interviews, that he harbored violent sexual fantasies — including that he wanted to torture and kill someone — and had been sexually abusive toward them.

On Thursday, police pulled over Calderwood’s car in Utah and searched his home, where they found a watch that matched Murnane’s near a missing person’s flyer about her disappearance.

Investigators also interviewed Calderwood’s current wife, who turned out to be the anonymous tipster. She said Calderwood told her in 2021 that he’d killed Murnane, who he’d known because he worked at the assisted-living facility where she lived.

According to the wife, Calderwood had told her he hadn’t specifically intended on killing Murnane but had seen her walking while he was driving around looking for a victim. He offered her a ride, then told her he needed to stop somewhere for a phone charger.

The wife said Calderwood told her he took Murnane to his then-girlfriend’s parents’ house, where he’d prepared their crawlspace as a place to torture someone.

The wife said Calderwood told her he’d pushed Murnane into the crawlspace, where he raped and killed her and disfigured her body, according to the charges.

The charges say Calderwood claimed to have put Murnane’s body in thick plastic bags and a fish tote before leaving it in a dumpster, which was near the home of an elderly woman he cared for, so that he could look at the dumpster.

It’s unclear from the charges what happened to Murnane’s body. Police never announced finding it.

Homer police declined to comment, but said the investigation remains open.

Anyone with information relevant to the case — especially about Calderwood and his possible interactions with Murnane — is asked to call the Homer Police Department at 907-235-3150.

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Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts. Reach him at cgrove@alaskapublic.org.