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A Utah man is under arrest after authorities say he kidnapped and murdered an Alaska woman who disappeared in 2019.
Kirby Foleni Calderwood, 32, was charged Monday with the murder of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, 38, according to the Homer Police Department in Alaska.
Murnane was last seen on Oct, 17, 2019, when she was captured on a surveillance camera as she walked away from her apartment in a supportive living facility on Main Street. Authorities believe Murnane, who lived with bipolar disorder, was on her way to a scheduled mental health appointment — a one-mile walk from her home. She was reported missing by staff in her apartment building on Oct. 19.
Murnane’s disappearance prompted authorities to issue a Silver Alert (which is designed to inform the public about missing adults living with vulnerable conditions), while massive searches by air and foot were exhausted to no avail. Search and rescue dog teams tracked her along her route and alerted in a way that indicated she'd been picked up by a vehicle along the way, according to the Homer News.
Though her body has never been found, a six-member jury decided she died by homicide following a presumptive death hearing in July 2021, per local media outlets. Her parents had filed a petition to have her declared dead earlier than the automatic five-year process but hadn't expected the jury to rule her death a homicide.
"It validated me," her mother Sara Berg told the Homer News at the time. "I know she was murdered. There was never any question in my mind about that."
Her mother told the paper that she believed someone Murnane knew had kidnapped her.
"There was no way she would have gotten in a car with a stranger," she said. "Someone she knew well murdered her. I’ve never seen that any other way.”
Alaskan authorities recently honed in on Kirby Calderwood of Ogden, Utah, after an anonymous tip came through the Kenai Peninsula Crime Stoppers tip line in April, according to an affidavit obtained by NBC Anchorage affiliate KTUU. The tipster reported that Calderwood allegedly confessed to having access to a temporarily unoccupied Homer residence, where he outfitted a crawlspace to use as a place of torture.
The witness alleged Calderwood admitted to driving around on the prowl for a victim before finally spotting Murnane, whom he invited into the empty house while claiming he only had to grab a phone charger, per the affidavit.
The house reportedly belonged to the parents of Calderwood’s then-girlfriend, according to Homer News.
Police say Calderwood pushed Murnane hard enough into the crawlspace that he injured her, according to the local outlet. They accuse the suspect of restraining and raping Murnane, throwing her cell phone into Beluga Lake and eventually killing her.
According to KTUU, Calderwood allegedly told the tipster that he disposed of the woman’s body in a dumpster, but not before taking Murnane’s black Timex watch.
Investigator Matt Haney, who was hired by Homer Police in 2020 to investigate the case, stated they found the watch on Calderwood’s bedroom dresser during a recent search of his Utah home.
“This exactly matches the watch the Kenai Crime Stoppers TIPS caller had described, and Murnane’s mother and stepfather had described,” wrote Haney. “Additionally, a missing persons’ flyer was found next to the same dresser.”
Calderwood lived in Homer from 2016 to 2021 and was questioned as a person of interest in the case in May 2021, though it was unclear what connected him to Murnane’s disappearance, according to the Anchorage outlet. Calderwood told authorities he knew Murnane when he worked at her building in 2019.
According to Homer News, Murnane lived at MainTree Apartments, a supportive housing building managed by the nearby South Peninsula Behavioral Health Services, where she had the appointment on the day of her death. Calderwood reportedly worked at the center as a direct service provider back in 2017, where he used to eat meals with Murnane, and was working in her apartment building in the fall of 2019
Authorities also say that two women who were previously in a romantic relationship with Calderwood made disturbing allegations against the suspect, including pornography addiction, a fixation for killing animals and claims of sexual violence.
One of the women told Haney that she had reported being raped by Calderwood to the U.S. Army, though it was unclear if any action was taken in that case.
“Calderwood has an extensive history of abusive, violent, sexual behavior towards women and fantasized about torturing and killing someone,” wrote Haney.
As part of their searches at Calderwood’s home, detectives found a machete and large knives that seemingly had “dried blood on them,” according to the affidavit.
Calderwood was arrested on Thursday after authorities performed a traffic stop in Utah, according to KTUU. Investigators found firearms in the trunk of his car, which Calderwood was prohibited from possessing due to an active protection order filed against him in December.
The petitioner in that order claimed Calderwood “raped her on numerous occasions and is known to carry weapons.”
On Tuesday Murnane’s loved ones spoke with reporters regarding Calderwood’s recent arrest.
“I’m going to grieve Duffy, and at the same time, be thankful and grateful that she was a part of my life,” said friend Stephanie Rodriguez. “It’s not over yet, but at least we’ve hit one mountain, we've climbed one mountain, we’ve hit that goal. So now it’s time to get ready and deal with another one.”
Calderwood is currently at the Weber County Correctional Facility in Utah, records show. Police say he is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and tampering with physical evidence.
Homer Police thanked the community and Utah authorities for helping them identify a suspect in Murnane’s case. Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities at 1-907-235-3150.
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