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Alleged Nome Kidnapping Averted After Driver Became Stuck in Snow

An Alaska State Trooper cruiser. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

An alleged kidnapping in Nome over the weekend ended after the driver got stuck in the snow.

According to Alaska State Troopers (AST), Daniel Ahmasuk of Nome was driving around Glacier Creek Road with an unidentified female passenger on Saturday evening, eluding Nome Police. Charging documents say Samantha Iyapana was the female passenger in the vehicle at the time. Iyapana reported to 911 that she had been assaulted by Ahmasuk and that he was refusing to let her out of the vehicle.

Sometime close to 9pm Saturday, the vehicle became stuck in the snow, and Ahmasuk fled on foot. AST responded to the area on snowmachines and arrested Ahmasuk.

He was brought to Anvil Mountain Correctional Center (AMCC) and is being held on charges of kidnapping, assault, and failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer, among other alleged crimes. There is no mention of sexual assault related to this incident.

Ahmasuk was arraigned at the Nome courthouse this afternoon (Monday). Superior Court Judge Romano DiBenedetto set bail at $20,000, saying of Ahmasuk’s charges, “a lot of people were put at risk if the alleged conduct is true.”

Image at top: Alaska State Trooper cruiser. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

2 Comments

  1. Melanie Bahnke on April 21, 2019 at 10:57 am

    I don’t know either of the people involved but I’m curious as to why KNOM is including the name of a victim of a crime in this article? That could deter other victims of crimes from calling for help if they are in a bad situation.

    • Davis Hovey on April 23, 2019 at 9:16 am

      Hello Melanie Bahnke,

      Thank you for your comment and for your interest in this story. Let me start by saying I certainly understand your argument, that naming Ms. Iyapana in this story could deter other victims from reaching out for help, and you are not the only one who has suggested that to us.
      However, as KNOM’s News Director, I made the judgment call to name the victim in this incident because she is not a victim of sexual assault. There is no mention from Trooper’s or her report to 911 that this was an incident involving sexual assault.
      Also, I did not ask Ms. Iyapana, but I chose to name her because I believe her decision to take action, to call 911 and report Mr. Ahmasuk, was courageous and demonstrates (hopefully) to others that she is not a helpless victim in this case. Her decision to call for help should not be seen as embarrassing or wrong, but instead I think it could encourage others to call for help when in a bad situation.

      Overall, her name was public information, which can be found by anyone who goes to the Nome courthouse and requests documents related to this case with Mr. Ahmasuk. This is not a sexual assault case, otherwise I definitely would not have named the victim. And her name adds more information to the story which is part of my consideration as a journalist. Going forward I will continue to consider reporting people’s names, especially victims, on a case by case basis. But if you would like to make the argument that I made the wrong decision in this case to name Ms. Iyapana, then I am more than willing to hear you out and take that into consideration.

      Please feel free to email news@knom.org if you wish to continue this dialogue. Again thank you for your comment, I really do appreciate it!

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