An unusual MWAB case

Here’s another murder-without-a-body case which I am, alas, unable to add to Charley due to lack of a photo of the victim.

I was randomly surfing MP sections of police department sites and noted Eli Sharclane listed with the Juneau, Alaska PD. Missing since 1977, a few weeks before his 20th birthday. Clothing description but no picture. I’d seen him on the Juneau PD’s website before, but this time I decided to Google him.

Well, it turns out he got thrown off a bridge on the night of his disappearance. This legal document tells all. The thrower, Peter Castillo, was charged with second-degree murder. He was acquitted of that, but convicted of ATTEMPTED murder.

This makes no sense to me: Sharclane apparently could not swim, he was drunk, and he got thrown 49 feet down to the river late at night. I looked up the temperatures in Juneau in 1977 and wasn’t surprised to learn that it’s cold there at night in late September. Sharclane, if he did not drown and he was not killed outright by the impact, would undoubtedly have frozen to death.

I did a look on Newspapers.com and found a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article from 1959 that mentions Eli; it’s headlined “Two Infants Die in Flu Epidemic” and says eight babies, among them 15-month-old Eli Sharclane and his 1-month-old sister Donna, remained hospitalized. No articles about Castillo’s trial, though. I found Eli’s father’s obituary on Google; he died in 2003.

Eli’s listed on NamUs, btw, but the image provided is clearly not a picture of the victim.

I don’t know 100% what happened to Peter Castillo, but common sense would suggest he’s out of prison by now, and a records check turned up a 57-year-old by that name living in Juneau today.

My only hope is that someday Eli’s relatives will put up a Find a Grave notice for him with a photo. Just today I put up some pics on an MP I found on Find a Grave.

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11 thoughts on “An unusual MWAB case

  1. Marshall Loveday August 20, 2016 / 1:04 pm

    Hmmmm….. Interesting.
    Incident happened in September. River would most likely be at its lowest point of the year, so there’s a possibility that the victim hit the river bottom. Could even have hit the bank. Depends on how large a river that is, and how it was flowing at the time.The river, whichever one it is, would empty out into the Pacific – an inland passage area that Juneau sits on – most likely has fairly swift currents going through there that would carry a body a long ways…..

    • Meaghan August 20, 2016 / 2:47 pm

      I saw a web board where someone suggested a jawbone, found off the coast of Alaska, might be Eli’s. It was a Native American jawbone and the timing and location would have been right.

  2. Celeste Keenan August 20, 2016 / 2:13 pm

    Do you think he might have been suicidal and jumped off of the bridge?

    • Meaghan August 20, 2016 / 2:46 pm

      No, witnesses saw him get into a fight with Castillo and then saw Castillo pick him up and chuck him over the side.

  3. michael August 21, 2016 / 9:23 am

    Speaking of murder-without-a-body cases, I flipped out when I saw the Hunsberger cases were just added to Charley, and the possible link to the Reinert cases mentioned. I have an episode of “Murder By The Book” on this case, and it’s quite intriguing. I find the photo of the possible gravesite to be one of the creepiest things ever.

    • michael August 21, 2016 / 9:28 am

      Oh yeah, forgot about the Merion, PA connection. Lots of odd stuff in that town. It’s the site of the historic General Wayne Inn, with loads of paranormal activity, and an infamous murder. Featured on such shows as City Confidential and Unsolved Mysteries.

    • Meaghan August 21, 2016 / 10:17 am

      I’m going to have to re-read Echoes in Darkness and see what it says about the Hunsbergers. I don’t doubt that they’re dead, probably murdered, but it seems unlikely to me that Smith was involved. Heroin addicts have risky lifestyles by definition and tend to make a lot of enemies.

      • michael August 21, 2016 / 1:39 pm

        Smith was a damn nut. After his release from prison, he threatened to bomb the Pennsylvania State Police and the state attorney general’s office. His release shocked those that were even on his side, though I can’t imagine too many of those people exist. He never should have been released. Considering all of his very shady actions, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he was involved.

        The “Murder By The Book” episode has additional photographs of the Reinert children, the Hunsbergers and the marker depicting the possible gravesite. Crime author Lisa Scottoline is also featured in the show, and she says this case inspired her to get into the writing business.

      • Meaghan August 21, 2016 / 5:57 pm

        I wish I could see that episode then. Amazon has only one season of Murder by the Book and it doesn’t look like the Reinert case is on there.

  4. michael August 22, 2016 / 5:11 am

    hmm, well I tell you what: If you put up Deorr Kunz, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, I will pop a copy of the Murder By The Book episode in the mail for you, free of charge, just like before. Maybe some other bonuses for you as well.

    • Meaghan August 24, 2016 / 5:43 pm

      They’re on my “gotta do it” list, believe me. I really need to just duct-tape myself to my seat and do those three. I should’ve done them weeks ago.

      I’ve ordered some sort of back brace that’s supposed to force you to maintain good posture while you sit. Maybe that’ll stop all the awful back and muscle and shoulder pain I tend to get after being in front of a computer all day. It didn’t used to be last this — I have a feeling I’m facing the dread specter of “growing older.”

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