Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:49 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No sign of Nikiski man missing since May 28



By Brian Smith
Morris News Service - Alaska

On June 14, Jack and Darlene Conright would have celebrated a milestone together.

The day would have marked eight years of marriage for the couple from Nikiski. They would have likely spent the day relaxing on Hesketh Island in Kachemak Bay, where they were married, Darlene said.

"We would usually spend the weekend back over there," she said.

However, Jack, 49, has not been seen since the early morning hours of May 28.

"I can't imagine he wouldn't have been here if he could have been," Darlene said of spending their anniversary together.

Since Jack disappeared — possibly wearing jeans, a dark shirt, and rubber boots, and possibly on a mountain bike — his absence has taken a toll on those close to him, Darlene said.

"It is just really hard," she said fighting back tears.

"You know, this isn't like him. There are just a lot of people that love him and it is just hard to understand. I just feel helpless. I have gone out and looked for him and it is just a real helpless feeling. This area is just so big."

A team composed of Nikiski Fire Department firefighters, Alaska State Troopers and other volunteers and community members, had canvassed the area for Jack or any evidence for several days.

Megan Peters, spokesperson for the Alaska State Troopers, said the case would remain open until Jack is accounted for, "alive or dead."

"There is nothing really for us to do until we get a credible tip," she said.

Peters said if residents do come in contact with Jack by chance, they should encourage him to contact law enforcement.

"People will call in and say, 'Oh, yeah, I think I might have seen him,'" she said. "But, we can't verify him and we haven't seen him, we haven't been able to talk to him. We don't know if they mistook him for somebody else or what. They are not something we can follow up on."

Darlene said Jack isn't the sort of person to knowingly walk away from his wife and home.

"This is totally out of character and that's why we're so concerned that something happened to him," she said. "Maybe he got injured."

"He left the house, he could have gone out for a walk, gone out for a while to clear his head," she said. "... He's not come back. He could have gone out and it's bear season and something could have happened to him."

However, Darlene said she is less than pleased with troopers' efforts to locate her husband. She alleged troopers didn't follow up with certain leads and "didn't take it seriously."

"The longer it goes, the worse the potential outcome could be," she said. "I just don't know why they didn't take it seriously, at least they didn't as far as I could tell."

The Homer Police Department received a report in early June that Jack was seen near his boat at Northern Enterprises Boat Yard on Kachemak Drive in Homer. However, officers did not locate him.

"There have been a lot of people down in Homer looking for him and the thing is that he was in Homer the day prior," Darlene said. "So ... I know a lot of people can't figure out what day it is."

However, she said she was grateful for the help given by volunteers particularly those who helped search for Jack like the Nikiski Fire Department.

"I've just been real appreciative of the volunteers out in Nikiski here that have helped," Darlene said.

"In the first week of the search there was a lot of people out here that volunteered because, like I said, there was no official search called by the troopers."

Darlene had a message for her husband if he was indeed avoiding contact.

"Just come home," she said. "He just needs to come home."

Brian Smith writes for the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai.

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