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Man Found Dead Likely Fell Down Cliff, Police Say

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Police say the man whose body was found Monday in a creek near Captains Bay probably fell to his death.

Unalaska Director of Public Safety Michael Holman said 45-year-old Gregg Kortesma was pronounced dead at the scene after a pair of local hikers discovered his body in Ruth Rock Creek.

"The body was located at the bottom of a steep cliff and there's substantial blunt force trauma to the head, all of which is consistent with a fall down that cliff into the rocky creek bottom," said Holman.

Police are still investigating what caused the fall, but Holman said they do not suspect foul play right now. Kortesma's body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner Office in Anchorage for an autopsy.

In the meantime, police are trying to piece together his activities during the week before his death. Holman said they know Kortesma applied for a job at City Hall on Sept. 4 and recently worked on the F/V Alaska Trojan.

Credit Unalaska Dept. of Public Safety
Hikers found the body of Gregg T. Kortesma in a creek near Captains Bay on Sept. 12.

Kortesma was originally from Wisconsin, but he lived sporadically in Unalaska and Southeast Alaska over the last two decades. Holman said local law enforcement became familiar with Kortesma during his time on the island. 

"I think our first contact was probably almost 20 years ago," said Holman. "He may not have been really well-known throughout town, but we knew who he was."

Court records show Kortesma had faced a handful of felony and misdemeanor charges in Alaska. He was arrested on a felony assault charge in 2014 after allegedly pointing a gun at a woman in a Juneau mall. That charged was dismissed after he was found incompetent to stand trial.

Anyone with information on Kortesma's whereabouts during Sept. 4-12 is asked to contact the Unalaska Department of Public Safety at 581-1233.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019.
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