Homer Police Department                                 A recent photo of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, missing since Oct. 17, in Homer.

Homer Police Department A recent photo of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, missing since Oct. 17, in Homer.

Police actively searching for missing Homer woman

Anesha “Duffy” Murnane disappeared after leaving her Homer apartment Oct. 17.

Nearly two weeks after she went missing on Oct. 17, Homer Police remain actively searching for Anesha “Duffy” Murnane.

Murnane, 38, disappeared after leaving her Main Street apartment for an appointment at the SVT Health & Wellness clinic on East End Road.

Police consider the search for Murnane their main focus.

“We have an incredible team right now that has put a lot of work and effort into this,” said Lt. Ryan Browning. “We’re all working together.”

After pursuing numerous leads and interviewing hundreds of people, police are still no closer to finding her.

“It’s a needle in a mass of massive haystacks,” Browning said.

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 purse or bag 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.

Homer Police and Alaska State Troopers issued a Silver Alert two weeks ago for Murnane. 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.

The last verified sighting of Murnane on Oct. 17 comes from a security camera image that shows her at 12:13 p.m. Oct. 17 leaving her apartment at Maintree Supportive Housing, the apartment complex on Main Street where she lived. Browning said Murnane probably had been walking to a 1 p.m. appointment at the SVT Health & Wellness clinic, about a 1-mile walk from her home. She never made her appointment, Browning said.

Before police discovered the security camera image, a person who knew Murnane from school had reported seeing Murnane in front of Homer’s Jeans about 5:15 p.m. Oct. 17. Police also received tips that people saw her on East Bayview Avenue the morning of Oct. 17, but security cameras in that area don’t show her there.

“There’s nothing to corroborate eyewitness accounts of people who say they saw her in that same time frame,” Browning said.

Volunteers did a ground search in downtown Homer the weekend after Murnane went missing, but found nothing. That at least ruled out the possibility that she had been injured or disabled. Police also searched the area by helicopter, with aerial drones and by driving beaches.

The weekend after Murnane went missing, search and rescue dog teams from Anchorage tracked Murnane in the downtown area, picking up scents from Main Street to Lee Drive, Svedlund Street, Pioneer Avenue and Kachemak Way. Search dogs got strong scents in the Kachemak Way to Pioneer Avenue area near Cosmic Kitchen, in front of Homer’s Jeans and the Kachemak Bay Campus. Murnane frequently ate at Cosmic Kitchen.

“It’s a loop the dogs can’t get off of,” Browning said.

However, the dogs could no longer follow a scent and acted as if there had been what search dog handlers call a “car pick up.” While police don’t have evidence that Murnane had been picked up in a vehicle, on the basis of that police expanded their search outside the Homer area.

If Murnane had been picked up, particularly if she had been forced into a vehicle, witnesses would have been likely to see that. Pioneer Avenue between Kachemak Way and Heath Street at mid-day sees a lot of traffic, with cars waiting for turns at the intersections.

“While we have nothing that says she was abducted, we don’t have anything that says she wasn’t,” Browning said. “This one has me scratching my head.”

Murnane didn’t take taxi cabs and generally got around by walking, Browning said. Police still checked with cab drivers and none of them reported picking her up.

Police have reviewed security camera footage from businesses in the Pioneer Avenue area, but have found nothing useful either because of camera angles or the fact that some cameras don’t have tapes. Anyone who might have security camera footage is asked to contact police.

After getting warrants, Police also have looked at Murnane’s emails, social media accounts, e-commerce accounts and bank records. There had been a “ping” showing use of Murnane’s cell phone at Mile 171 Sterling Highway about 11:30 a.m. Oct. 17. However, cell phone hits like that are accurate within about a 3.5-mile radius. Browning said the last outgoing cell phone call Murnane made was 10 days before she went missing.

Police can get hits from Murnane’s cell phone, an iPhone model, if it’s not in airplane mode and if the battery isn’t dead. They haven’t received anything. Police served a warrant on her operating system records. The FBI has said those records could show use even if the phone was in airplane mode, but that’s a review FBI experts know best how to do, Browning said. The FBI is in the process of examining the operating system records.

Murnane had gone to the Pratt Museum the night of Oct. 16 to hear a lecture by her stepfather, Ed Berg. Nobody showed any interest in her or hung around her at that talk, Browning said. “By all accounts she was doing well, doing her normal routine up to the point she walked out of her apartment, and then, just, poof,” Browning said.

Berg said the family has been focusing its efforts on spreading the word as widely as possible about their missing daughter and sister. Last Saturday, friends went door-to-door in the Anchor Point area handing out flyers.

“I think that in turn has generated a lot of phone calls to the police, people thinking they saw somebody who looked like her,” Berg said.

Browning said police have received tips about Murnane from all over Alaska, including Haines, Kenai and Anchorage.

“We’ve probably talked to 100, 200 people so far,” Browning said. “So far, nothing. No leads.”

Murnane’s family also has consulted several psychics. One psychic said Murnane might be near a town with the word “river” in it.

“On the Kenai, that pretty much comes down to Funny River,” Berg said.

When he worked at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Soldotna, Berg had a place in Funny River — the area on the south bank of the Kenai River.

“One thing that struck me about that was there were a lot of empty, seasonably unoccupied cabins,” Berg said. “It would be the perfect place to squirrel away a kidnap victim.”

The family also canvassed the Funny River Road area, Berg said.

Police aren’t discounting the tips from psychics, Browning said.

“We’re prone to follow up leads in places they’ve suggested, but nothing really concrete has come out of that,” he said.

On the theory that her daughter might have been abducted, Murnane’s mother, Sara Berg, put out an appeal.

“Please release her,” she said. “I’m just begging these people to release her.”

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

A missing person poster for Anesha “Duffy” Murnane put out on Oct. 20, 2019, by Homer Police in Homer, Alaska. (Image provided)

A missing person poster for Anesha “Duffy” Murnane put out on Oct. 20, 2019, by Homer Police in Homer, Alaska. (Image provided)

More in News

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Brad Snowden and Julie Crites participate in a Seward City Council candidate forum at the Seward Community Library in Seward on Thursday.
Seward council candidates discuss issues at election forum

Participating in Thursday’s forum were Julie Crites and Brad Snowden

Cam Choy, associate professor of art at Kenai Peninsula College, works on a salmon sculpture in collaboration with the Kenai Watershed Forum during the Kenai River Festival at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on June 8, 2019. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Soldotna adopts arts and culture master plan

The plan outlines how the city plans to support arts and culture over the next 10 years

Architect Nancy Casey speaks in front of a small gathering at the Fireside Chat presented by the Kenai Watershed Forum on Nov. 30, 2022, at Kenai River Brewing in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Watershed Forum’s Fireside Chats return Wednesday

The chats will cover a range of interesting topics, centered on knowledge, research and projects

Erosion of the Kenai bluff near the Kenai Senior Center. (Photo by Aidan Curtin courtesy Scott Curtin)
Kenai to sign bluff stabilization agreement Monday

A signing event will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Kenai Senior Center

Engineer Lake Cabin can be seen in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Nov. 21, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Public comment accepted for proposed rate increases for overnight fees at refuge

Campsites would increase $5 per night and cabins would increase $10 per night

Abigal Craig, youth winner of the Seventh Annual Kenai Silver Salmon Derby, is presented a novelty check by Kenai River Sportfishing Association Executive Director Shannon Martin, City of Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel, and Kenai Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Samantha Springer at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Silver Salmon Derby nets fish, funds for river protection

116 fish were weighed by 79 anglers across the six days of competition

Soldotna Public Works Director Kyle Kornelis talks about the Soldotna field house project during a Soldotna City Council meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna awards field house contract

Anchorage-based Criterion General, Inc. will construct the facility

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Peter Micciche testifies before the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly during a meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly to let borough mayors speak sooner during meetings

The mayor’s report will now be given after the first round of public comments and before public hearings and new assembly business

Assembly members Lane Chesley, left, and Richard Derkevorkian participate in a borough assembly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Haara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly asks state to allow term limits for school board members

Alaska Statute does not allow term limits to be imposed on school board members

Most Read