Man's death in west Alaska village jail is third in past two weeks

Robert Nick, 54, died in a jail in the village of Akiachak, The Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

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By Associated Press

AKIACHAK, Alaska — An Alaska man has died while in police custody, the third person to die in a western Alaska community jail in the past two weeks, authorities said.

Robert Nick, 54, died in a jail in the village of Akiachak, The Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

Nick was taken into protective custody "due to the level of his intoxication" Friday by a tribal officer in the village of about 600 people on the Kuskokwim River, northeast of Bethel, police said.

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Alaska State Troopers were notified of Nick's death Friday evening around 9 p.m. and boated to Akiachak to investigate.

State police did not say what Nick is believed to have died from or how long he had been dead when he was found by tribal jail guards.

His remains were sent to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage, authorities said.

Becca White, 24, and Isaiah Parka, 22, died in a blaze April 28 at the village jail in Napakiak, southwest of Bethel. The fire is still under investigation.

A guard was severely injured trying to save the two inmates, according to state troopers. White and Parka had been arrested by a village police officer employed by the tribe, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

Residents of the Kuskokwim River village tried to fight the fire by pumping river water and using a garden hose to extinguish the flames, authorities said.

The deaths in Napakiak were the first in a fire in an Alaska jail for more than 30 years, police said.