Police say there’s ‘nothing to indicate’ East Anchorage homicide and missing man are connected

A search and rescue group prepares to search for missing Juan Toscano Thursday morning. June 1, 2023. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Update, Friday:

Anchorage police have identified the man found dead on Wednesday off Campbell Airstrip Road as 35-year-old Juan Wright. Police are investigating Wright’s death as a homicide.

Police have released few additional details. But, in an email update Friday, a police spokeswoman said “at this time there’s nothing to indicate” Wright’s death is connected to a man missing at a trailhead nearby, 28-year-old Juan Toscano. 

Toscano had told family hours after Wright’s body was found that he was taking a hike from the Basher trailhead. He was last known to be near the Campbell Creek Gorge.

Police spokeswoman Sunny Guerin said search efforts for Toscano have ended.

“Multiple resources were deployed during the search to include dogs, drones, ATVs, and an (aerial) search,” Guerin said. “Searchers did not find any sign of Toscano nor any signs of an animal attack in the area.”

Police are still asking anyone with information on Wright’s death to call 311.

Original story:

Police are investigating a homicide and a missing person’s case near East Anchorage trails.

They said Thursday that it’s still unknown if the two are connected in any way.

“We do not yet know if the missing person case is connected to anything else,” police spokeswoman Renee Oistad said in an email.

Police have released few details about the body found, but say the death is being investigated as a homicide.

In a statement, police said a passerby reported finding the body Wednesday morning near the 7800 block of Campbell Airstrip Road, close to the popular Campbell Airstrip Trailhead. Officers responded around 11 a.m.

The person found dead has not been publicly identified, but police said the name will be released after family has been notified. Police have not issued any suspect descriptions or announced any arrests.

Hours later on Wednesday, 28-year-old Juan Toscano went missing nearby, off another popular trailhead. Police say Toscano told family around 3 p.m. that he was going for a hike from Basher Drive Trailhead. He never returned.

He was last known to be around the Campbell Creek Gorge.

Juan Toscano
Anchorage police are seeking missing man Juan Toscano, 28, who was last reported taking a walk from the Basher Trailhead on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. (From APD)

Police said Thursday Toscano was not the person found dead off Campbell Airstrip.

On Thursday morning, members of the Alaska Search and Rescue Association’s Anchorage Search Team were at the trailhead off Basher Drive. Team member John Gomes said ground searchers, dog teams and drones were all being deployed in the area.

Members of Toscano’s family were also at the trailhead Thursday, but declined comment.

According to police, Toscano is 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighs 195 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes. Police shared an image captured the day Toscano went missing. In it, Toscano appears to be leaving a store. The image quality is poor, but he appears to be wearing a dark baseball cap, camouflage jacket over a light shirt, and medium-toned pants that may be gray or blue. 

A man in a red vest outside
Anchorage Search Team member John Gomes prepares his search crew. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Police are asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to call APD at 311.

They are also asking anyone with information linked to the body found Wednesday, including anyone with surveillance footage in the area or who saw suspicious activity on Campbell Airstrip Road overnight Tuesday, to call Detective Kristi Mercer at 907-786-2653.

Alaska Public Media’s Wesley Early and Matthew Faubion contributed information.

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at cklint@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Chris here.

Previous articleAnchorage gave her a $1.6 million grant despite prior fraud allegations. Now she’s under investigation again.
Next articleWasilla teacher who sexually abused students sentenced to 46 years