Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer signed an extradition request to the Governor of Maine on March 7 for Steven Harris Downs.
Downs, a former student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is accused of first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault in the death of 20-year-old Sophie Sergie in April 1993.
“After 26 long years, it is time for Sophie Sergie and her family to see justice served,” said Lt. Governor Meyer. “This case has haunted Sophie’s family and the Fairbanks community for far too long. It is my hope that Governor Mills approves this request quickly and permits the wheels of justice, unmoved since 1993, to proceed forward in our search for the truth in this tragic case.”
Sophie Sergie was visiting Fairbanks in late April 1993 when she decided to spend the night with a friend at the UAF campus. Her body was discovered the next day in a dormitory bathroom. Investigators with the Alaska State Troopers launched an investigation and collected a DNA sample from the victim that was uploaded into the Combined DNA Identification System in 2000, but no identification was made.
Last year, Trooper investigators decided to use genealogical databases to identify a possible suspect and that eventually led them to a relative of Downs. Working with Maine law enforcement, Downs was interviewed again and a search warrant for a sample of his DNA was served. The Maine Crime Law tested his DNA, which matched the DNA sample found on Sergie’s body.
Lt. Governor Meyer would like to thank the Alaska State Troopers and the Maine State Police for their outstanding cold case work in finding Downs. “Public safety and restoring trust in state government is the number one priority of this administration and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to make Alaska safer,” added Lt. Governor Meyer.
On Dec. 10, 2018, Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy appointed Lt. Gov. Meyer to act on his behalf in extradition duties under Alaska's Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, Alaska Statute 12.70.