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Press Release

Anchorage Woman Sentenced for Death of Her Father

January 22, 2016

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – On Friday January 22, 2016, Superior Court Judge Jack Smith sentenced 35 year-old Shannon Cooke of Bethel to spend two years in prison for injecting her father, 56 year-old Thomas Tungwenuk, Jr., with heroin which resulted in his death.

Cooke previously pled guilty to one count of Criminally Negligent Homicide and one count of Fourth Degree Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance.

Anchorage Police Homicide Detective Jim Trull and the State Medical Examiner’s investigation revealed that on September 29, 2014 Shannon Cooke was residing at her father’s apartment in Anchorage. Cooke injected Tungwenuk with heroin at his request. Tungwenuk had never used heroin before. In the minutes following the injection Tungwenuk experienced chest pains, shortness of breath and began to sweat profusely. Cooke called 911 but did not inform either responding paramedics or police of the drug use.

It was not until after Tungwenuk died at the hospital that Cooke informed the State Medical Examiner investigator of her providing Tungwenuk with heroin. Police recovered 1.54 grams of heroin from Cooke’s possession. According to the State Medical Examiner Tungwenuk died of acute combined toxic effects of heroin and ethanol.

At sentencing Cooke said she was “deeply sorry” and that “not a day goes by that I don’t think about my father.” Judge Smith said he “has seen the increased heroin traffic in Anchorage” and that the sentence reflected the community’s condemnation. Judge Smith acknowledged that it was a “very tragic set of circumstances that led us to this day” before imposed 6 years with 4 years suspended with 2 years to serve and placed Cooke on probation for 3 years.

CONTACT: Assistant District Attorney Daniel Shorey at (907) 269-6369 or daniel.shorey@alaska.gov.

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