Prescott High graduate found dead in Alaska

Sonja Ray appears to have died accidentally, but an autopsy is pending, her mother said.

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PRESCOTT -- Sonja Ray's mother believes her 24-year-old daughter may have slipped on a slick dock when reaching to pick up her ID from the end of the dock in Juneau, Alaska.

The 2004 Prescott High School graduate's body was recovered Sunday morning from Auke Bay Harbor, near her boat, according to an account in the Juneau Empire newspaper. Sonja Ray was last seen walking to her residence Saturday afternoon, and was reported missing later that day.

Linda Ray of Prescott, Sonja's mother, said her daughter had made her home in Alaska after attending the University of Alaska Southeast for three years.

She had worked at a home for girls, and was looking for work in a school with younger kids, her mother said. She had purchased the boat to live on as a way to save housing money.

"She really enjoyed the culture. She learned everything she could about the native culture. She camped and fished and learned how to can salmon," Ray said.

"She was my independent daughter, so strong, so independent," Ray said.

The cause of death is not known, pending an autopsy, which is being conducted in Anchorage.

Funeral plans are awaiting return of the body to Juneau, Ray said.

An account for the Ray family has been set up at Banner Bank to help pay for travel for Sonja's seven siblings to Juneau to attend their sister's funeral.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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