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FBI to probe string of deaths, disappearances

A special unit of the FBI has been called in to investigate a string of incidents in which Native villagers went missing or died while visiting the town of Nome, The Anchorage Daily News reports.

The FBI Behavioral Analysis unit, a team of serial homicide experts, will look at 20 cases dating back to the 1960s, with 10 since 1990. The victims were usually Native men from nearby villages who went missing or died under suspicious circumstances. Three of the cases were Native women.

The most recent was Eric Apatiki, 21, who had gone to Nome in October 2004 to visit his pregnant girlfriend and spend his state royalty dividend check. He was never seen again after an altercation at a hotel. Some of the other cases bear similarities -- men going to Nome to spend their check or incidents at hotels.

Some have suggested hostility against Natives and police misconduct are at work. Nome is 51 percent Native and 38 percent White, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Unsolved cases in Nome attract FBI (The Anchorage Daily News 11/13)

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