Manokotak man dies after assault, according to Alaska State Troopers

Feb 11, 2020

Sean Whitley, 37, died early Sunday morning after being hit in the head, troopers say. High winds and blowing snow on Saturday prevented a medevac flight from reaching the community.

A Manokotak man has been charged with murdering Sean Whitley, 37, Saturday morning. Alaska State Troopers report that the death was caused by injuries sustained in an attack. Troopers arrested Dick Itumulria, 54, for allegedly killing Whitley. 

On Saturday morning, a Manokotak tribal police officer reported that shots had been fired in the village. Witnesses later told troopers they had heard a gunshot and saw Itumulria beating Whitley with a wooden board. He was transported to the village clinic, but high winds and blowing snow prevented him from being medevaced to a hospital. He died early Sunday morning. 

Because of the poor weather, troopers from Dillingham couldn’t get to Manokotak by snow machine on Saturday; there was too much open water at the crossing points on the Weary River, and they had to turn back. They flew to the village Sunday morning to investigate the death. 

Itumulria agreed to talk to the troopers, and told them that Whitley had come to the house twice on Saturday, kicking on the door and threatening him and other people inside. Troopers arrested Itumulria and transported him to the Dillingham Jail where he was remanded, without bail, on the felony charge of murder in the second degree.


Contact the author at or 907-842-2200