Kotzebue reaches out after boy dies in mauling
In light of the death of 5-year-old Jordan Lee-Reed, who was mauled by a loose dog Saturday, the community of Kotzebue is rallying around the mourning family.
"Jordan was a fun, caring little boy," said Margaret Nelson, Lee-Reed's aunt. "He was very talented and really bright; you could talk to him like he was an adult, but he was just 5 years old.
"He was just like his dad, always wanting to be outside and always wanting to work on stuff."
Lee-Reed was reported missing Saturday evening at 10:44 after he had been playing outside the family's house, Kotzebue Police Chief Eric Swisher said in a statement. Lee-Reed's father called police after searching unsuccessfully for his son.
By 11 p.m., Kotzebue Fire Department and Kotzebue Search and Rescue were contacted and provided with photos of the child to start the search.
More than 200 community members came out to assist in the search for the boy, said Kotzebue resident Maija Lukin.
After searching for most of the night, the child's body was found in a field outside the town at 4:10 a.m. Sunday morning. A husky-mix dog near the scene was "determined to be the animal that attacked and killed the child," police said.
The dog was destroyed by police.
"All I can say is that it was very tragic," said Lukin. "No mother or father should ever have to deal with this sort of situation. My heart breaks for his family.
"The sense of community we have, though, is astounding. I don't know how the firefighter/EMTs and (Search and Rescue) do their job, but I am thankful for them in my community. I hope the city council takes this into consideration during their next meetings. It's just so sad."
Lee-Reed's family is in the process of raising money to help with burial expenses and to bring family to Kotzebue from elsewhere in the state. A bake sale was slated for Wednesday.
There has been an outpouring of support from friends and family not only in Kotzebue, Nelson said, but from the surrounding villages as well.
A revamped city ordinance requires people with dogs on a "vicious breeds" list to have insurance coverage for their animals. It also requires those canines to be penned in yards securely and threatened fines for people who didn't follow the rules.
"People need to follow city ordinances," Nelson said when asked what would help prevent future attacks. "People need to tie up their dogs and keep them fed. Teach your children to not just walk up to dogs, let them know that some dogs could bite.
"I just want everybody to know that it's not safe for dogs running around in general they need to be penned and insured."
Nelson expressed her gratitude to people in Kotzebue for helping with the search.
To donate to the family of Jordan Lee-Reed call Margaret Nelson at 412-1168.