By Michael Armstrong
Warning: This story contains information about sexual assault and torture that may be disturbing to some readers.
Two-and-a-half years after Anesha “Duffy” Murnane went missing on Oct. 17, 2019, while walking to a doctor’s visit, Homer Police have caught the man they say killed her.
In charging documents filed in Homer Court on Saturday, May 7, police allege that Kirby F. Calderwood, 32, of Ogden, Utah, picked up Murnane on Oct. 17 while she walked to an appointment at SVT Health & Wellness Center, took her to the unoccupied Homer home of his then-girlfriend’s parents, and sexually assaulted and tortured Murnane before killing her.
Calderwood has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, kidnapping and tampering with physical evidence. Murder and kidnapping are unclassified felonies and tampering with evidence is a class C felony.
Ogden police arrested Calderwood on a warrant on May 9 in Utah, where he is being held on $1 million bail. Calderwood lived in Homer at the time Murnane disappeared.
“We would like to thank everyone who cooperated in this investigation. There were dozens of folks that helped out with initial searches,” Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said in a press release. “Many others called in with tips and information and stood by ready to assist us. We would also like to thank the FBI and the Ogden Utah Police Department for all of the help they have provided. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Duffy’s family and all who are touched by this horrible event.”
Murnane’s parents, Ed and Sara Berg, were traveling and unavailable for comment at press time. Police notified them earlier of Calderwood’s arrest.
The charges against Calderwood came about after on April 14, 2022, a person called Kenai Peninsula Crimestoppers with detailed information about Murnane’s disappearance and murder. Police later found out the tip came from a person who knows Calderwood, and that Calderwood had told them about Murnane’s abduction, assault and killing. Calderwood talked about the abduction with the tipster after Haney interviewed him in May 2021. The caller provided details such as that Calderwood had a ladies Timex watch he took from Murnane. When Ogden police served a search warrant on Calderwood’s home, they found a ladies Timex watch that matched the description given by her parents. Ogden police also found a missing person’s flyer for Murnane in Calderwood’s home.
Murnane, then 38, disappeared on Oct. 17, 2019, 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 Main Tree Housing, 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 along Pioneer Avenue and East End Road from her home. She did not show up for that appointment.
The last confirmed sighting of her was a security camera image from outside her apartment at about 12:15 p.m. Oct. 17. Search dogs tracked Murnane’s scent to the area on Pioneer Avenue in front of Kachemak Bay Campus, where the scent stopped — an indication she had been picked up in car there.
An employee at Main Tree Housing, the apartment complex where Murnane lived, reported her missing on Oct. 19, and said she had not been seen since Oct. 17. Homer Police issued a Silver Alert — an alert for a vulnerable adult — and an air search was done that day, with no sightings. Volunteers started searches on Oct. 19, and continued them throughout that fall. Family and friends have held vigils and remembrances for Murnane since her disappearance. Homer artist Brad Hughes has been building a memorial bench for Murnane and other missing and murdered people.
Murnane was declared dead June 17, 2021, in a presumptive death jury hearing. The jury determined that she most likely died by homicide.
According to an affidavit by Homer Police Special Investigator Matt Haney, Calderwood knew Murnane from when he had worked at Maintree. Through his investigation, Haney identified Calderwood as a person of interest about May 20, 2021. Haney interviewed Calderwood on May 25, 2021, and Calderwood said he began working for South Peninsula Behavioral Health Services in 2017 as a direct servicer provider. For four or five months in the fall of 2019 he also worked at Main Tree Housing, where he met Murnane. Calderwood also knew Murnane from eating with her at meals in a program at South Peninsula Behavioral Services, the mental health agency that runs Maintree Apartments.
According to the affidavit, Haney wrote that while Calderwood’s then-girlfriend was out of town, Calderwood prepared the girlfriend’s parents’ crawlspace to torture someone. Calderwood had stayed at the home in 2018 with the former girlfriend. The home was unoccupied from Oct. 12 to December 2019.
After preparing the crawlspace, Calderwood went driving around in his blue Subaru Forester looking for a victim when he saw Murnane, according to the affidavit and the tipster’s information. Murnane agreed to get into the car with Calderwood. Murnane’s parents and friends had said that she would not get into a car with someone she did not know.
Calderwood then took Murnane to the house, pushing her down into the crawlspace so hard it hurt her badly, according to the complaint. Police alleged he restrained her and raped her. He took her cellphone to Beluga Lake and threw it in. Calderwood then continued hurting Murnane and killed her, according to the complaint.
Haney’s affidavit said Calderwood had a history of being physically violent in relationships.
In the press release and in a phone call, Robl said he could not provide further information about the case at this time. The case remains an ongoing investigation. Police ask that anyone with information about Calderwood and his interactions with Murnane contact them at 907-235-3150.
A memorial installation of the Loved and Lost Bench, the sculpture in memory of Murnane and missing and murdered persons, is June 12 at the Homer Public Library.
Reach Michael Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.