Bobby Pfister 6/5/98 Thunderbird Falls Murder Camper

Murder Suspect Arrested At Airport
By Elizabeth Manning, ADN 6/7/98

Anchorage International Airport police Saturday night nabbed a 19-year-old suspect in the murder of a man whose body was found hidden near Thunderbird Falls a day earlier.

Jamie Lynn Douglas was apprehended in the airport parking garage about 7:40 p.m. Anchorage police earlier in the day had identified him as a suspect in the murder of 29-year-old Bobby Pfister and alerted airport police and others to be on the lookout for him.

Anchorage police Sgt. Mike Grimes said Douglas apparently had been trying to catch flights out of town all day.  He had approached the Alaska Airlines counter at least three times for information on flights, had finally checked in on one, and apparently had returned to his car when airport police arrested him, Grimes said.

He offered no resistance, police said.

Grimes said Douglas and Pfister were friends.  They and two teenage females were partying with cocaine and marijuana Thursday night at Douglas' apartment when the two men decided they wanted to go shooting, he said.  Late Thursday night or early Friday morning, all four drove out to the Thunderbird Falls trail head in Chugach State Park, Grimes said.  They hiked out the trail about a mile, carrying handguns, and one of the girls told police the men seemed to be getting along fine when Douglas suddenly shot Pfister in the back, Grimes said.  He then fired two more shots into Pfister, according to the girl.

''It was like a thrill killing,'' Grimes said. ''There was no argument.  Everyone was friends and they were getting along.''

Grimes didn't identify the female witnesses.

Officers had been searching for Douglas since early Saturday morning.  They had described him as armed and dangerous.

Police said Pfister was shot once in the head and twice in the body around 2 a.m. Friday on the popular trail just west of Eklutna Village. His body was concealed in a pile of leaves, twigs and moss about a mile in from the Thunderbird Falls trail head.

Police spokeswoman JoAnne Brandlen said Pfister probably had been dead for more than 12 hours when two hikers, a man and a woman, spotted his shoes and part of his maroon jacket under brush near the trail.

Detectives said they received a call late Friday night from one of the girls who had been with Pfister and Douglas earlier.  The call arrived while investigators were still examining the crime scene.

Police at first reported that Pfister was female because the body was found face-down, and Pfister was slight of build and had a long ponytail.

Police said Douglas was charged with first-degree murder and lodged in the Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility in lieu of $500,000 bail.