Joe Vogler was a political activist for Alaskan independence and a successful gold miner, Ice Cold Killers examines his disappearance and murder.
Vogler, a Kansas native, moved to Alaska in the 1940s and founded the Alaskan Independence Party. He also mined on Homestake Creek, where he had 320 acres and was active for fifty years.
He was also a frequent thorn in the side of the Federal Government and was involved in many court actions and petitions related to the secession of Alaska from the rest of the United States. Vogler also ran for governor on several occasions as the Alaskan Independent Party candidate.
On May 30, 1993, Vogler went missing and an extensive search failed to turn up any sign of the 80-year-old. His house showed no sign of a break-in and his animals had not been fed or let out for several days.
The investigation soon ran out of steam and the FBI declined to investigate, saying it was a local matter. Some members of the Alaskan Independence Party suspected foul play and theories went around that the CIA or even the National Park Service had kidnapped or murdered Vogler.
It was a year later that convicted forger and one-time worker for the Alaskan Independence Party, Manfried West, admitted to police he’d killed Vogler. In conflicting statements he said it was a botched robbery nd then an illegal explosives deal gone wrong.
A tip off from Manfried’s cellmate led investigators to Vogler’s body, wrapped in a tarp and buried in a shallow grave. Manfried was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 80 years in prison.
Vogler was buried next to his second wife in Dawson City, Canada, abiding by his wishes not to be buried under the US flag.
Ice Cold Killers – Guns, Gold & Murder airs at , 1:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.