On a zip drive found in the streets of Anchorage, Alaska, the most horrendous acts of torture were caught on video. Women who were tortured and killed were viewed by authorities off of the zip drive labeled “Homicide at midtown Marriott.” The woman who found the video went straight to the detectives with it and the detectives used the content of the audio and video to lead them straight to the killer.
The contents of the video were that of real-life scenes one would see in a horror movie. In the video, the dying woman’s face was covered in blood and swollen from being beaten. When the killer spoke, the detectives realized the man did not have an Alaskan accent. As he continued to beat the woman on the video, he said, “My hands are getting tired.” He then commenced to stomping her in the throat with his foot. The accent was described by detectives as an “English sounding accent.” When they went through previous investigations, they remembered a South African 48-year-old man named Brian Steven Smith. Information about earlier cases involving Smith was not released to the public.
Police found and arrested Smith, who was identified off of the video’s contents. He pleaded not guilty for the slaying of an Alaskan Native woman back in September, Kathleen Henry, who was only 30 years old. Police stated during the interrogation, Smith admitted to slaying another Alaskan Native woman. The police will not release any more information if it is confirmed there were other victims. If there are additional women, then they would have a serial killer placed behind bars, which is great for the police and the public.
Anchorage has many different cultural backgrounds, and there are over 200 languages spoken within the school system. The major languages are Hmong, Yupik, and Russian. What detectives found unusual about Smith was South African accents are not heard in Anchorage once the tourist season ends in summer. A tiny number of people are from Africa in which the U.S. Census Bureau confirms.
The second victim mentioned was a 52-year-old woman, Veronica Abouchuk. She was reported missing by her family in February and has not been seen alive since July of 2018. Smith told where he hid Abouchuk’s body after he killed her, and it was confirmed when police found the body a year earlier. Alaskan State Troopers found the remains of a skull with a bullet hole aligned with Smith’s story. Monday, Smith went before a judge for arraignment where he was charged for the deaths of the two women. If there are more, they will charge him at a later date. At least he has been captured.
Both women were reported to have been found alongside Anchorage’s highways dumped “like unwanted trash.” The state’s memorandum stated they were seeking “$2 million bail on the more than a dozen counts he faces, including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and evidence tampering.” The state is seeking the high bail because Smith is a flight risk who has continuous ties to South Africa. The memo stated, “He poses a significant public safety risk, especially to the vulnerable, homeless women living on the streets of Anchorage.” Alaska’s law does not have the death penalty, but if convicted for the torturous death of Henry, just hers alone will land Smith 99 years behind bars.
Anchorage Deputy District Attorney Brittany Dunlop told reporters, “These were two Alaska Native women. And I know that hits home here in Alaska, and we’re cognizant of that. We treat them with dignity and respect.”
According to police, they claim the public safety threat is over, and there was no evidence of an accomplice, but they will continue to investigate. Smith became a naturalized U.S. citizen in September of this year, and he has been in Alaska for the last five years.
The press reached out to Smith’s wife Stephanie Bissland of Anchorage, whom he married five years ago. She was in Virginia at the time she learned of her husband’s arrest for the homicides. Bissland told TV station KTUU, “Smith reported his vehicle had been vandalized and that his wallet, documents and a briefcase with phones and other electronics had been taken.” She continued, “It wasn’t unusual for Smith to have memory cards lying around from cameras and other gear he would work on and sell. I never saw any of them labeled.” Bissland told KTUU, it was horrifying to learn of the charges of her husband.