Unsolved: The murder of Sophie Sergie
By Dianna Rupp
Sun Star Reporter
With the majority of UAF’s arrests and disciplinary actions being doled out due to underage drinking or petty theft, the campus doesn’t cast a foreboding shadow in most peoples minds.But underneath the safe exterior our ever present campus police force and heavily imposed student regulations strive to maintain rests on an unsolved murder case dating back 20 years.
In 1993, the murder of a young woman in Bartlett Hall shook UAF’s students and faculty to their core.
Sophie Sergie, a 20 year old Marine Biology student, was found by a janitor on April 26, murdered in a bathtub in the second floor women’s restroom. The cause of death was a gunshot wound.
While detectives searched for leads, many details of Sergie’s case continued to refute possible suspects. Her body was discovered at 2 p.m. that fateful Monday, forensic testing later revealed that her body had been sitting in the bathtub for up to 13 hours before discovery.
Due to the high traffic of students in the dorm, including those who didn’t actually live in Bartlett, a pool of suspects created based on the location of the crime was almost impossible.
None of the witnesses interviewed recalled hearing a gunshot, nor did anybody come forward claiming to, which eventually, among other aspects of the case, resulted in the creation of a theory questioning whether or not the murder had actually take place in Bartlett, or if the body had simply been moved there after the matter.
Another theory profiled characteristics of Sergie’s killer. Police guessed that the suspect was most likely fueled by an innate hatred for women, along with having an underlying sexual motivation.
Even after a $20,000 reward was offered by Fairbanks crime stoppers, few new credible sources were discovered, and to this day, Sergie’s killer remains unfound.
Unsatisfied with the university’s security protocols, Elena Sergie, Sophie Sergie’s mother, filed a civil suit against UAF in 1994. During this civil suit, many details of the case that had previously been kept private were made public, resulting in even more questions of whether leads could remain credible or not.
Twenty years later, Sergie’s memory is honored on the anniversary of her death by her family, friends and UAF’s student body. Though our unique location and cozy campus may seem too demure and isolated to have such a dark past, the memory of Sergie’s murder remains a constant chill.