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Slana Woman Arrested on Release Violations in Manslaughter Case

An investigation into the poaching of five caribou in the Slana area on Monday resulted in the arrest of a 29-year-old man and a 31-year-old female.

Troopers arrested 29-year-old Joshua Nelson for a violation of court-approved third party duties. Venessa Murphy, age 31 of Slana was also placed under arrest for violating the conditions of her release on the original charges of Manslaughter and DUI.

Murphy was charged in the death of 55-year-old Helen West after a rollover crash on August 9th. According to the investigation, Murphy was driving east on Nabesna Road when the vehicle she was driving, a white Ford Explorer, entered a ditch and rolled. Both occupants were thrown from the vehicle in the crash.


Both West and Murphy were transported via Slana EMS. West died while enroute to the Gulkana Airport to be medevaced by LifeMed.

The investigation determined that Murphy was intoxicated at the time of the incident.

Murphy would fail to appear in court on the charges, and was picked up while being in a vehicle that was subject to a traffic stop on November 8th. She was remanded to the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility. In court, she was allowed to be released on $5,000 bail and a court-approved third party custodian.

Troopers say the AWT investigation into the caribou poaching is continuing and they anticipate further charges.