Case of the Month: Sophie Sergie (1973 – 1993)

Sophie Sergie

Sophie Sergie

This month is the 24th anniversary of the Sophie Sergie murder that still haunts the Fairbanks authorities. On April 26, 1993, around 2pm, Sophie Sergie (20) was found dead by a janitor. Her body was in a bathtub in the second floor women’s restroom of Bartlett Hall, University of Alaska. She was raped and killed. The cause of death: a gunshot wound. The murder weapon was never found.

Forensic tests revealed that her body had sat in the bathtub for up to 13 hours before she was found. I’d like to know her exact time of death so we can make a timeline in this case. I have not found any details about the condition in which the restroom was found and in particular of course, the bath tub. Was the tub dry or not? Shower curtain or not? Was the tub bloody or not? Any signs that someone tried to clean up? Was she found dressed or nude? If dressed then we have to comb over those clothes with the M-Vac to look for touch DNA. If she was found nude did we recover all her clothes or are some items missing? Do we have her glasses? If she was shot inside the tub was the tub damaged? Did the bullet lodge in her body? She wore braces. Did we find any traces there?

In the articles we can read there are reasons to believe there was a second crime scene. This could mean that she was raped elsewhere and killed where she was found. Unfortunately it also means the reverse so she could have been killed in another room in the dorm, then moved to the restroom, and could then have been raped and left in the tub.

I understand that the authorities have preserved evidence and have run tests for serology, hair, and fiber. I have not read anything about results but certain is that they are looking for a male attacker.

As in all dorms, people are in and out. This didn’t help the original investigation. Nobody heard a gunshot, nobody saw anything. Not everyone was interviewed as the students were nearing finals. Some flew out before police was able to get in touch with them.

Sophie studied marine biology. She was not attending classes the spring she died. Sophie led a calm life. No risk behaviour. She had decided to take a year off. Sophie worked as a teacher’s assistant at the Pitkas Point School, had flown into Fairbanks for a dental appointment and was supposed to fly home to Pitkas Point afterwards.

In Fairbanks, she was staying in the Bartlett Hall dorm room of one of her best friends from back home, Shirley Wasuli. The night before her murder, they watched a movie. Shortly after midnight Sophie left to smoke in the shower room. Wasuli spent the night with a boyfriend so Sophie had the room to herself. The next day, Wasuli returned, found her dorm room unlocked, and Sophie gone. Wasuli left. I have not found any information to confirm that Wasuli and her boyfriend were cleared by police. I wonder why she didn’t look for her friend. An unlocked door and a bed never slept in. It doesn’t make sense.

A janitor found Sophie’s body in the bathroom at about 2pm that day. Authorities believe that sometime between 1-5am Sophie was raped and shot. Whoever did this knew the campus, the dorms, knew how to blend in, and most likely lived nearby if not on campus.

web find sophie sergieWhile looking for more information I came across this website. It makes mention of the Sophie Sergie case. I took a screen shot just in case the link disappears. Click it to enlarge and read the text. The author claims to know who killed Sophie Sergie. This person states to have worked for the Mat-Su (Matanuska-Susitna region) Narcotics Task Force during the time many people were found dead in the UAF dorms. This person also states that Sophie was on the 6th floor whereas all papers refer to the 2nd floor bath room/restroom.

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The authorities can use your help. Anyone who was in Hess Commons or the Moore, Bartlett and Skarland halls on April 26, 1993, is asked to contact the Fairbanks Police Department at 907.450.6500 or email them at fpd@ci.fairbanks.ak.us. Their cold cases page is here However, Sophie’s case isn’t featured there. But she is featured here as we have not forgotten her.

Rest in peace, Sophie Sergie.

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In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis. Often more information can be found online or in newspaper archives. The goal of these posts is to get the cases back in the spotlights, to get people talking again, and if anything to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are cold does not mean that we can forget about them.

If you have any thoughts about the Sophie Sergie case then I encourage you to post them on your own social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc.) Every time that we mention Sophie Sergie’s name online we enhance her digital footprint. We must make sure that she keeps her web presence if we ever wish to find answers in her case. You can help by linking to or sharing this post.

Thank you for remembering Sophie Sergie with us.

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Resources

Alaska Department of Public Safety

Juneau Empire

Sun Star

Alaska Dispatch

Your Place Abroad