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Crime News Murders

Alaska Serial Killer Is Found Dead in Indiana Prison Cell

Joshua Wade confessed to killing five people, beginning when he was just 14 years old. 

By Jill Sederstrom

Alaska serial killer Joshua Wade was found dead in his Indiana prison cell earlier this month. 

Wade, whose dark deeds were once the focus of an episode of Oxygen’s Fatal Frontier: Evil In Alaska, was 44 years old. 

Brandi Pahl, the chief communications officer for the Indiana Department of Corrections, confirmed to Oxygen.com that Wade was discovered “unresponsive” in his cell at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana on June 14. 

“Despite life-saving measures being performed, he was pronounced dead,” she said. 

No further details were provided about the circumstances around Wade’s death. 

Lynn Swanson, the LaPorte County Coroner, told Oxygen.com that an autopsy had been completed, but her office was waiting on toxicology results to make a final determination on the cause of death. 

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“I hope to have it completed in the next week or so,” she said Tuesday. 

Joshua Wade’s Victims

Before his death, Wade, who was convicted on both state and federal charges, admitted to killing five people in Alaska, beginning when he was just 14 years old. 

Wade was charged in 2000 with killing Della Brown by hitting her in the head with a rock and sexually assaulting her, but a jury would only convict him of witness tampering in the case, according to The Associated Press

By August of 2007, Wade was out of jail and living in Anchorage. When his neighbor Mindy Schloss, a public health nurse, suddenly disappeared, suspicion once again fell on Wade, according to Fatal Frontier: Evil in Alaska

Mindy Schloss Ffeia 102

Investigators discovered that after Schloss disappeared, two $500 cash withdrawals were made from her bank account by a man later identified as Wade. They also found his DNA in her abandoned car. 

Schloss’ body was later discovered on Sept. 13, 2007 in a wooded area by a municipal worker. She had been shot in the head. 

In an effort to avoid the death penalty in that case, Wade agreed to plead guilty and confessed to Brown’s earlier murder in exchange for a 99-year sentence in state prison. If he was ever to be paroled, Wade would be sent to federal prison to serve a life sentence as a result of federal convictions against him. 

He later sought to get out of serving prison time in Alaska and agreed to provide information on three other murders he claimed to have committed in exchange for a transfer to a federal prison outside of the state, according to a 2014 statement from the FBI. 

Wade confessed to killing a man in 1994, another in 1999, and a third man the same night he killed Brown. Authorities believe Wade was referring to the previously unsolved murders of John Michael Martin in 1994 — when Wade was just 14 years old — and the 1999 murder of Henry Ongtowaskruk, authorities said. The final victim has never been identified.

To learn more about Wade's crimes, watch Fatal Frontier: Evil in Alaska