Alaska murder

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    Lengthy article. rbbm.
    Who killed Carlos Medina?

    [​IMG]
    Carlos Medina of Kodiak was bludgeoned to death in 1993. (Photo courtesy Medina family)
    "Everybody said Carlos Medina was on a fast-track toward the Filipino-American dream. He grew up in the Philippines in a poor family with a dozen children.

    When he came to Kodiak in 1983, he was only 26. Like so many new immigrants, he got his first job in a cannery killing crab.

    In less than a decade, Medina had left the crab line far behind. He'd bought a restaurant in town, added Filipino food to the menu, changed the name from China House to Asia House, and opened Kodiak's first karaoke club.

    He had a good job with the Kodiak Electric Association to pay the bills. His restaurant was popular and he was talking of expansion. He had gotten married and was raising three small children. He was buying a big house in a neighborhood sometimes known as Little Manila.

    In the polyglot town of Kodiak, where Filipinos today outnumber Alaska Natives, Medina had become a talked-about symbol of immigrant success.


    "It's the American dream. You start out making lousy wages and you get ahead," said Kodiak city manager Gary Blomquist. "What you see here is a dream that really isn't being accomplished many other places."

    In his success, Medina did not forget other Filipinos. He sent money home to the islands and brought his father and a brother and sister to Alaska. He sponsored a Filipino basketball team and helped elderly ladies with medical bills. When new arrivals had financial trouble, they often got help from the Barangay Lions Club, the Filipino-American service group in which Medina served as president.

    Last April, when the city threatened to crack down on immigrant boarding houses where seafood workers crowded together to save money, Medina appeared before the city council to appeal for understanding. Flush with success in a school board election, Filipino leaders were looking for a new city council candidate; they chose Carlos Medina."

    "His routine was well-established. After work at KEA he would go home, eat with his family and nap a few hours. Then he would drop by the restaurant, greeting patrons and looking after the books. Sometimes he would go out with friends, coming back before the 2 a.m. closing.

    Medina's younger brother Rolando, who had come from the Philippines two years earlier and was helping run the restaurant, figured Carlos had business appointments and didn't worry. Business for Carlos sometimes meant socializing in bars. He had a lot on his mind that week he'd been meeting with other Kodiak bar owners to discuss complaints that his late-night karaoke was drawing customers for liquor, not food, in violation of his beer and wine license.

    Carlos never made it home that night."
    "Just before dark, police found Medina's silver Nissan pickup truck at a gravel pit on a deserted road behind town. Police closed the road, which leads to the summit of Pillar Mountain. A detective was left to sit up through the rainy night near the truck. The inside of the truck's cab was streaked with blood."

    Searchers found Medina's ring and his watch alongside the road that climbs out of the spruce on Pillar Mountain. Near the radio towers on the grassy summit, a mile from the truck, they found his body. He had been viciously beaten on the head, his skull caved in by a blunt weapon."

    Some Filipinos may not want to say negative things about the well-liked Medina, he said. Others may feel threatened. Palmer said he interviewed one witness, a woman, who seemed to know something about the case. That night Kodiak police received a 911 call from a phone booth.


    "There was a movie about 'The Man Who Knew Too Much,' " the caller said, according to Palmer. "I've rewritten the movie to 'The Woman Who Knew Too Much.' " The caller named the witness and threatened to kill her. Police whisked her safely out of town, Palmer said.


    Meanwhile, rumors and speculation abound. Since Medina's death, people have asked out loud how he managed to pay for his restaurant and talk about expanding. On the last day of his life, Medina had signed the final mortgage papers for a house that police say cost more than $200,000."

     
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