Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stabbing Of Anchorage Resident And Ex-BYU Student Brittni Giliam Resonates All The Way To Utah

Update September 21st: The Anchorage Police Department has now ruled the death of Brittni Giliam a suicide.

The fatal stabbing of a woman in Anchorage, Alaska on July 14th, 2010 is also attracting extensive media coverage in Utah because of her connection with Brigham Young University. The body of Brittni Giliam was found by her roommate and her roommate's father around 1:30 A.M. in the Helen Louise McDowell Sanctuary, a park between 36th Avenue and Tudor Road on the east side of the Seward Highway. She had been stabbed in the chest. Her friends were concerned because she was gone longer than expected. Photo available HERE. There will be a memorial service at the LDS chapel on 13161 Brayton Drive in Anchorage on Tuesday July 20th; public viewing will be from 11:30 am to 1:15 pm, and the service will begin at 1:30 pm.

Homicide detectives are investigating, but for some inexplicable reason, they're not ruling out suicide, although it is uncommon for one to stab one's self to death. Others also believe that suicide is improbable. The medical examiner is performing an autopsy. Additional Alaska media reports from KTUU Channel 2 and KTVA Channel 11; video embedded below:

KTVA published an additional story on July 15th HERE.

Ken Lambertsen, a bishop at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Youth Singles Ward that she attended, said Giliam lived with her family in South Anchorage but she and a roommate were house-sitting on Helvetia Drive in the Geneva Woods neighborhood. The house backs up to the McDowell Sanctuary, a swampy wooded area with a small pond. Giliam and friends hiked Mount Baldy around dinner time Tuesday and she returned to the Geneva Woods home around 10:30 p.m. Afterward, she went for a walk. Evening walks were common for her. However, homeless people, which occasionally includes a predator or two, do set up camps in many Anchorage wooded areas, but it has not been disclosed whether or not there was a homeless camp in the Sanctuary.

Giliam worked at The Alaska Spine Institute and, according to her blog, often rode her bike on a trail through the sanctuary on her way home from work. She graduated from East High School in 2005. According to the Deseret News, she was the second of nine children in her family. Giliam attended Brigham Young University but hadn't completed her degree there. The BYU connection is the reason for Utah interest in the story; Utah stories have been published by the Deseret News and KSL Channel 5, where former Alaskans who've moved to Utah are posting comments about Anchorage. They represent Anchorage fairly accurately, saying that some spots are dangerous for unaccompanied young women, although one commenter characterizes us as "gang-infested", which is overkill.

Numerous condolences have already been appended to her most recent blog post.


  1. It isn't safe for women to be alone anymore especially young girls. Parents should warn their daughters to never go out alone at night ever by themselves. Alaska is known for it's rape and homocide of young girls. A man in a silver van has been following women home from sometime from Anchorage. There have been multiple stabbings in the last few months in Anchorage. Plus, the homeless population has increased quite a bit because of the poor economy. Don't let your wives, girlfriends, daughters, etc., go out alone at night! If they do, have them carry a sawed off shotgun to protect themselves1!

  2. This is very sad but I can't say safety has changed in the past 30 years. Parts of town shift in their population sometimes BUT the the deal is, it has always been wise to not be alone in a secluded space alone anywhere in this country. There are always folks that you can stumble upon that aren't safe. The wise thing to do is bring a friend and possibly a cell phone, and pepper spray.
    A sawed off shot gun is silly and difficult to manage. Plus it could be used on you.
    A group of people is always safer.