Sgt. Glenn Flothe Takes On Nowhere

“Five days after the second body was found on the Knik, Lieutenant Bob Jent of the Alaska State Troopers assigned Sergeant Glenn Flothe (pronounced “Flowthie”) to the Knik River murders. At that time he’d been working on seventeen other homicides. He’d solved all except one of them, but most still needed follow-up. That meant Flothe was stuck shepherding his cases through the judicial system.
“Jent changed all that. Flothe was to work full-time on the Knik cases.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”

The sense that Sgt. Glenn Flothe was an ace homicide detective was borne out not by braggadocio but by facts. He got results. But he was not the stereotypical hard-nosed cop. The professorial Flothe had a manner that was more supportive, even-handed, confessional. As Walter Gilmour once said of Flothe, “we put all the asshole cops on the missing dancers case and they didn’t solve it. We figured it was time to try the nice guy.”

glenn flothe
Sgt. Glenn Flothe

Here’s Flothe’s take on that same period:

“Goulding and Morrow were found before I was assigned in late [September] of 83. During the initial investigation by Haugsven, I was involved in Walatka, Ron & Darcelle Cole, Duncan, Spierings, Music, Harley, Hopen, Dickinson, Wafer, Kwallek, Ballenger, Landesman, Goodman, Krakoff, Farrant, Besh & Investor homicides until Jent assigned me to the case because it had stalled and Stauber was going on the S.O.M.E. run.” [1]

Those weren’t the only items on Flothe’s resume. In Fairbanks, he’d worked a serial murder case involving, among others, the death of Glinda Sodemann — a trooper’s daughter — who was found shot in the face with a .357. Glinda was a newlywed with a small baby and, according to her husband, when he arrived home on August 29 the baby was in the crib, but Glinda was gone. By all accounts, Glinda was happy and had no reason to run away from home; investigators found no evidence to suggest foul play.

The following October, Glinda’s decomposed body was found in a gravel pit near Moose Creek on the Richardson Highway, not far from Eielson Air Force Base and twenty-two miles south of Fairbanks.

That location proved crucial: Her killer, Thomas Richard Bunday worked on the base.

There was no denying, then or now, that Flothe had the kind of experience that might break the logjam in a missing dancers case.

Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

[1] In 1979 the Alaska State Troopers conducted the first Special Olympics Mileage Event, which later became known as the S.O.M.E. Run. For twelve years this was a Department of Public Safety members’ annual event. It was also a major fundraiser for the Alaska Special Olympics.

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