They knew the state's grim reputation: Alaska often ranks as the deadliest state for women.
Linda Skeek's family knew, too, that as violence escalates in the home, victims are less and less likely to make it out unscathed. She begged Robinson-Wells to come pick her up. Each time Linda decided to leave, her family says, Thomas wooed her back with promises to be better and provide the stability that she and their children needed. Within two weeks of her disappearance, prosecutors charged Thomas, now 37, with her murder, alleging that after he killed his wife in their apartment, disposed of the body and bought cleaning supplies to cover his tracks. On March 28, a jury acquitted Thomas Skeek.
During the trial, senior assistant district attorney James Fayette pointed to a history of explosive arguments between the two, which neighbors often overheard and which were described under oath as including violent threats from him.
He argued no one but Thomas had a motive to kill Linda, who wanted a divorce. Like many, Linda Skeek loved Alaska for its rugged beauty and tough terrain. For decades, travelers, transplants and natives have taken pride in surviving and thriving in this remote state, unlike any other in Local Sluts Alaska. But the isolation has consequences, too. The reality is that many women in Alaska have to survive something far more dangerous than anything they might encounter in the wild: the men they interact with every day.
Across the state, and not just in rural areas, women are raped, beaten and murdered by their spouses and relatives at higher rates than anywhere else in the United States. Reported rape in Alaska is 2.
But to women here, the stats are more than just s — they represent their sister, best friend, neighbor, mother, cousin, teacher, grandmother, the woman standing next to them in the checkout line. And the violence is happening alongside rampant drug and alcohol abuse, particularly in remote areas of Alaska, where native villages often lack law enforcement.
And some of them are likely related to him. The foster parents have seen the depths of abuse over 21 years: children raped by family members; girls pimped out by addict parents who need a fix; boys growing up in homes where dad beating mom is an everyday occurrence.
Known for her laugh, which spilled out as a high-pitched cackle and often came after she busted up at her own joke, she made fast friends with everyone. From the beginning, it was clear Linda had a problem with drugs and alcohol.
Domestic violence and children: The startling toll on children who witness domestic violence is just now being understood. Hungry for a permanent home, Linda spoke openly of wanting to be a wife and to have children and of her desire to do it the right way.
They believe she felt pressure from her biological family to marry another Alaska Native Linda was from the Tlingit tribe. She liked that he had an apartment and a car.
Her family says a few months after they married, Linda was furious to discover Thomas had been charged with sexually abusing a minor. In NovemberThomas Skeek was found guilty of attempted sexual abuse of a minor, a misdemeanor. After the conviction, he was required to register as a sex offender and as of Junehe was still on the Alaska sex-offender registry.
But the family says the distance seemed to embolden Thomas, who they believe only grew more violent as the years passed. She said after that argument, Linda and Thomas both confronted her, warning her to mind her own business. She also testified that on Jan. During the trial, defense attorney Cooper painted Linda Skeek as a longtime drunk — she had a DUI conviction from — who simply wandered away from her home, and her children.
So many people who knew Linda begged her to leave. But experts who work with victims say that that question reveals a lack of Local Sluts Alaska.
Leaving is always the most dangerous time; abuse is about power and control, and when the abuser is about to lose control, it can turn deadly. Leaving an abusive relationship: Safety plan is key to escaping domestic abuse, which can be psychological or emotional.
Women like Linda also perfect the art of hiding the truth. When her sisters asked about her relationship, Linda often sidestepped questions. When they pushed, she explained she wanted them to be proud of her. She wanted to be defined by her successes, not her failures.
Her husband, Anthony Smith, was arrested and charged with her murder.
Alaska State Troopers allege that Anthony Smith choked Amy Smith to death ; Anthony Smith told the dispatcher that his wife fell down the stairs and that he found her unresponsive. Multiple attempts to contact him for comment were unsuccessful. But she believed she could repair the marriage and their relationship.
Now, as the family waits for justice, Chris Local Sluts Alaska a support group for Alaskans affected by violent crime in between working full-time and caring for her three grandchildren.
In Februaryyear-old Brandy Sullivan, an Alaska Airlines customer-service agent who lived in an upscale Anchorage suburb, was allegedly shot and killed by her estranged husband. Their and year-old daughters were in the house when she was killed, and called According to police, Adam Sullivanthen 40, confessed to his brother that he had killed Brandy Sullivan.
Two months earlier, when Brandy Sullivan had asked her husband for a divorce, he responded by flying into a rage, according to her family. They say he smashed her computer, broke her bed and destroyed a dishwasher, coffee table and TV stand. Adam Sullivan was initially charged with destruction of property, a domestic-violence felony, but Anchorage District Attorney Clint Campion reduced the charge days later at the urging of Brandy Sullivan, who said she believed everything could be resolved in divorce proceedings.
Sullivan had multiple prior convictions, according to Alaska court records, mostly for misdemeanors, including assault, destruction of property, reckless driving, eluding a police officer and resisting arrest.
Campion, who is now in private practice, told a local reporter in that he stood by his decision. On Dec. Her request for a long-term order was denied on Jan. Adam Sullivan could not be reached for comment. His trial is scheduled to start later this year. People like her can help. Experts agree that education is key to stopping the epidemic in Alaska.
Young men and women need to understand that violence is never part of caring for someone and that the state is dangerous everywhere; across race and socioeconomic spectrums, women are vulnerable. But statically, the state is even more dangerous for Alaska Nativesmany of whom live in small villages in the most remote parts of Alaska.
Women in those villages face extraordinary barriers in reporting and dealing with sexual assault and domestic violence. Stationed in Kotzebue in northwestern Alaska, located just above the Arctic Circle and home to about 3, people, Sears works with four other troopers, servicing nine surrounding native villages.
They cover an area roughly the size of Ohio. In early May, Sears and Shylena Lie, 26, who runs the five-bed family crisis center in Kotzebue, headed 75 miles southeast to visit Buckland, a village reachable only by single-engine, seater airplanes and snowmobiles, when the water of the Kotzebue Sound and Chukchi Sea is frozen over. Villages have only the necessities: a school, a store, a post office and, usually, a single jail cell. There are no playgrounds or parks. When the snow melts in spring, toddlers entertain themselves by splashing around in giant mud puddles.
A year and a half ago, Sears, who is married to a retired state trooper, requested a move to Kotzebue. She missed rural patrol. When weather allows troopers to go out, they first have to procure a plane — the state has a limited — which can take a day or two. There are no domestic-violence shelters in villages, only regional hubs, so lack of access is common across the state. Specifically, they look to village police officers, tribal officers and public-safety officers to keep the peace until troopers arrive.
These officers, who have no formal training but have been taught CPR, typically carry pepper spray, a taser, a baton and Local Sluts Alaska, but no gun.
At the school, home to K students, Sears and Lie spend the morning talking with the 29 high-school students about what healthy relationships look like and the realities of domestic violence. She mentions that her grandfather hunted seals until he grew too weak to pull his snow machine out of the ice.
During her presentation, Sears asks students why someone might not report an assault or rape.
Convincing sexual assault or domestic violence victims to come forward is tough in any community, as survivors try to navigate an aftermath of shame, guilt and betrayal. And in Alaska, booze is almost always an impetus for crime.
Calvin Brown, one of two village police officers in Buckland, greets everyone with a warm smile and wave, his VPO badge hung around his neck on a braided lanyard made of yarn. Why am I here? I forget what happened last night.
Many vote to go totally dry, effectively banning alcohol. But alcohol, officers and prosecutors say, is the biggest catalyst for crime in The Bush. Law-enforcement officials and legal aides encounter a litany of challenges beyond smuggled alcohol.
Almost all of them are transient, coming and going as needed, which makes villagers hesitant to trust. But for native communities that subsist largely on hunting and fishing, removing a man diminishes the village in the eyes of other Alaska Natives. And when a victim does decide to come forward and press charges, it can backfire: Stories of mothers turning their backs on daughters, or tribal elders working to intimidate victims, are numerous.
InStein, the career prosecutor who spent five years working in The Bush, helped on a sexual-assault case in Bethel, Alaska, where John Leopold was charged with raping his younger sister. Leopold had a long rap sheet with numerous other sex-assault convictions, including one for raping his cousin inwhen he was just 16 years old.
Shortly after he was released for that crime, Leopold raped his aunt — as a means of revenge. He was also convicted for that sexual assault. He was sentenced to years, with 10 years suspended. Local Sluts in Alaska Editor: This story includes descriptions from women alleging domestic abuse and sexual assault.