In January 1931, it was announced that the United States Attorney General's office was committing federal agents to the search for an elusive killer, blamed for fifteen murders and a string of unsolved disappearances in the territory of Alaska. All of the killings and disappearances were reported from the southeastern part of the territory, in the wilderness area between Fairbanks and the Gulf of Alaska. Hunters and fishermen lived in constant fear of the nameless slayer who struck without warning, trailing his victims to isolated killing grounds, leaving no trace of himself behind. In every case, it was reported that the killer "slipped away with ghost-like ease." In fact, there was a trace, if anything could be determined from the meager evidence . The latest confirmed murder victim, fish buyer John Marshall, had been found a few miles outside Ketchikan on October 20, 1930. The victim was still on his anchored boat, laid out where he fell after crushing blows shattered his skull. Clutched in one stiff hand, for what they might be worth, were several strands of hair . If Marshall was the last known victim, he was not the latest local resident to disappear, and terrified survivors counted every missing soul as victims of the killer. John Wickstrom had gone out trolling in a small boat, shortly before Marshall's murder and at the same spot, only to vanish without a trace. Since Marshall's death, at least three more locals had disappeared. Albert Anderson, hunting from his skiff, was named among the missing. More recently, Albert Farrow and L.C. Davis had disappeared from their small boat, found anchored in a lonely cove and partly swamped with water. On January 18, 1931, a federal marshal was reportedly en route to an isolated part of Prince of Wales Island, tracking an unnamed suspect, but the progress of his search was never reported, and the case remains unsolved today.