A man missing for more than 40 years was identified by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation as a Chugiak resident who was last seen in 1979. The man’s body was discovered on an island near Anchorage in 1989. (Courtesy photo/Alaska Department of Public Safety)

A man missing for more than 40 years was identified by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation as a Chugiak resident who was last seen in 1979. The man’s body was discovered on an island near Anchorage in 1989. (Courtesy photo/Alaska Department of Public Safety)

Body found in 1980s ID’d through DNA analysis

The body, found in 1989, had been unidentified until now.

A body found in 1989 on an island off the coast of Anchorage has been identified, shedding new light on the 32-year-old cold case, the Alaska Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday.

The body found on Fire Island in July 1989 has been identified as Michael Allison Beavers.

Beavers was last seen in November 1979 when he was 40 years old. He left his home in Chugiak in an automobile to drive to Seattle. He never arrived in Seattle, and his spouse reported him missing to the Anchorage Police Department in January 1980, the department said.

On July 24, 1989, human remains in an advanced state of decomposition were found on the northwest shore of Fire Island.

Troopers collected the remains; a subsequent autopsy revealed that the body belonged to a Caucasian man between 35 and 50 years old, who was likely the victim of homicide.

According to the autopsy, the body had been lying on the beach for at least a year, the department said.

Efforts to identify the body were unsuccessful and the remains were interred at the Anchorage Municipal Cemetery.

The investigation into Beavers’ disappearance, then unlinked to the body found on Fire Island, was closed in 1982.

In 1992, Beavers was declared deceased.

DNA collected from the remains was sent first to the FBI Laboratory in Virginia in 2003, where no identification was made.

In 2021, the Alaska Bureau of Investigation Cold Case Investigation Unit reopened the case, sending bone samples to a private DNA lab in Texas. The samples were linked to other persons in a larger database, some of whom were from Alaska.

After a close relative of Beavers was located, a positive identification was made.

The investigation remains open, as the disappearance and murder are still both unexplained.

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the Cold Case Investigation Unit at 907-375-7728.

Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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