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MISSING IN ALASKA’S INTERIOR: Steven Hjelm vanishes on walk to corner store

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 4:48 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Steven Hjelm, 54, went missing on January 9 after leaving his sister’s apartment on 16th avenue near South Cushman Street.

“We have no leads to where he has gone or where he is.” Loris Sears, Steven Hjelm’s sister, said during Saturday’s missing person vigil.

His family says he left on foot, headed towards a corner store to buy cigarettes.

“We’ve checked with the local convenience stores. We are unable to find any footage of him within that time period,” Ron Dupee, the Deputy Chief of the Fairbanks Police Department, explained.

Steven Hjelm is from Stevens Village and is an avid outdoorsman who loves to snowmachine. He had traveled to Fairbanks seeking medical treatment after a fall left him with an injured back and a small concussion. His family said he had been in town for about a month waiting on an appointment.

“There were no red flags or warning signs that he would do anything out of the ordinary, that he would do anything tragic like this.” Peter Hjelm said about his brother Steven.

Hjelm worked for years in Delta Junction at the Stevens Village Buffalo Farm. His family says he is a devoted father and would help anyone in the community at a moment’s notice.

“We are hoping and praying Steven sees this in the news, on a newspaper, [or] hear it on the radio. We are praying that maybe he’s somewhere hunkered down,” Sears said.

Deputy Chief Dupee said the police have tracked down every lead they have come across and searched the area.

“Ultimately, a lot of these cases come down to community support. We need the community’s help. If someone has seen Steven and they know where he is at, we need them to give us a call and put him in contact with the detectives,” Dupee said.

Since August of 2020, seven people have disappeared and remain missing from the Fairbanks area:

  • 8/17/20 69-year-old Frank Minano’s truck was abandoned near the Old Nenana Highway; extensive searches did not locate Minano.
  • 8/17/20 John McCelland, 61, went missing, his travel direction unknown.
  • 8/20/20 Debbie Nictune, 59, was last seen at the Northward Apartment building on Noble Street.
  • 8/28/20 Doren Sanford, 35, was visiting Fairbanks in search of his dog when he mysteriously disappeared.
  • 11/13/20 Willis Derendoff, 34, was visiting from Huslia, staying at the Extended Stay Hotel, and later became missing.
  • 1/9/21 Steven Hjelm, 54, was last seen leaving his sister’s house on 16th Avenue, walking towards a corner store on South Cushman.
  • 1/10/21 Brandy Haferman, 30, was reported missing after her family had not heard from her since late 2019; police last saw her in May 2020.

If you have any information on Steven Hjelm or any other missing person, you are asked to contact the Fairbanks Police Department at (907) 450-6500 or the Alaska State Troopers (907) 451-5100. Tips can remain anonymous.

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