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Alaskan fishing boat massacre claimed eight lives but remains unsolved

The Coulthurst family
The Coulthurst family, who died in the tragedy. Pic: People Magazine Investigates/ID

Some 35 years have passed since a horrific massacre aboard a fishing boat in Alaska claimed the lives of eight people — but the case still remains unsolved.

The tragedy gripped the nation in September 1982 after the mystery killer boarded the vessel, called the Investor and moored in the town of Craig, and shot dead everyone on board.

Those who died were the skipper Mark Coulthurst, 28, of Blaine, Washington, Coulthurst’s pregnant wife Irene, 28, their two small children and four teenage crew.

The killer then took the fishing boat about a mile out to sea and tried to sink it, before taking a small boat back to shore. When the Investor was still afloat the next day they then returned, covered it in gasoline, and set it alight.

After putting out the flames, state troopers discovered the dead bodies on board. In 1984, suspect John Peel — who once worked for Coulthurst — was charged with the killings, but after two high-profile trials he was found not guilty.

He later won a reported $900,000 after filing a wrongful prosecution lawsuit. The case remains unsolved to this day.

People Magazine Investigates looks in detail at the killings, and speaks to some of those closest to the case. Watch a clip from the episode below:

One of the most notorious mass murders in Alaska state history. People Magazine Investigates begins tonight at 10/9c.Watch all of Season 1 without signing in now → http://bit.ly/2yfNhP1

Posted by Investigation Discovery on Monday, December 11, 2017

People Magazine Investigates airs Mondays at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.


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