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Few details as search for missing Talkeetna musher continues

Ben Anderson

The search for former Iditarod musher Melanie Gould, who has been missing since she clocked out from her job at the Talkeetna Roadhouse on May 30, was still ongoing Monday, with few new details emerging, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Gould disappeared from her hometown of Talkeetna without telling anyone where she was going, and without any provisions for care for the animals in her small dog kennel. Neighbors and friends took in the animals after Gould failed to show up for either of her two jobs, first on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. A missing persons report was filed with the Talkeetna State Troopers’ office on Friday, the same day that friends of Gould and others concerned for her well-being banded together to canvas the Glenn, Parks, and Denali Highways with a “missing” flier with information on Gould.

On Friday, Megan Peters, spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers, said that the case was not yet being treated as a missing person’s case, and that troopers had verified Gould’s location “in the last couple of days” as of Friday. Peters said that troopers would still have liked to establish a line of communication with Gould, to check on her welfare and make sure that nothing adverse had happened to her. Peters cited the fact that Gould is an adult and entitled to her privacy, and that if she’d left of her own volition, there was little that troopers could do about that.

On Saturday night, Gould’s truck was found by state troopers on a road off of the Denali Highway, with no sign of foul play, but also no sign of Gould. Troopers began searching the area, and Peters said by email on Monday that warm and clear weather has been helping the search.

“About 20 people and a half dozen dogs are out doing a ground search,” Peters said Monday, as well as an R-44 helicopter and two fixed-wing aircraft conducting aerial search over the area. She couldn’t specify how much ground had been covered, nor whether they were planning to include more people in the search.

A Facebook page, “Have you seen Melanie Gould?” that sprung up on Friday morning and quickly gained nearly 1,900 followers, has been coordinating the search efforts among the public, and the page’s administrators have been urging restraint and continued diligence while Alaska State Troopers conduct the search.

For their part, troopers are holding out hope for a successful rescue. “Hopefully all goes well and we find her,” Peters said.

CORRECTION: A release Sunday from state troopers specified that the mining road where Gould's truck was found was "18 miles from Cantwell" along the Denali Highway. Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said that neither she nor Peters know the exact milepost of the road's location.

Contact Ben Anderson at ben(at)alaskadispatch.com