Crime Junkie Podcast’s ‘MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF: Elizabeth Santos’ tries to untangle the mysterious death of Elizabeth Omotaro Santos in Anchorage, Alaska, in August 2020. The victim’s family alleges gross incompetence and negligence on the part of the investigators. However, the authorities have denied the allegations, although no one has been charged with the death till now. So, how did Elizabeth die, and did someone really kill her? Here’s what we know so far!
How Did Elizabeth Santos Die?
Elizabeth Omotaro Santos, a Floridian residing in Wasilla, Alaska, visited her friend, Lizette Hoglund Hall, in Anchorage in August 2020. Elizabeth had recently broken up with her boyfriend, Dustin Kurpius, and was visiting her friend to clear her head. She and Dustin had been dating for over a decade. Also, present at the house at the time was Lizette’s son, Desmond Marcus Hall, who was Dustin’s friend. On August 8, 2020, officers of the Anchorage Police Department were dispatched to the 7700 block of Rovenna Street.
They had received a domestic violence complaint and reached Lizette’s address to find Elizabeth in critical condition. She had around ten stab wounds on her torso, upper thigh, and vital organs, and the first responders rushed her to the hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries. What followed was a bizarre set of incidents that shrouded Elizabeth’s death in a veil of mystery. According to the podcast, Elizabeth had been handcuffed on the way to the hospital, despite her critical condition.
Due to her severe injury, she was incoherent and could not convey what had transpired to the police. The episode also stated the ambulance took over 37 minutes before departing for the hospital. Official police reports claimed the crime scene investigators arrived to find Lizette cleaning up blood from the floor. They also noticed several scratches and bruises on her face, which she explained were due to a fight with Elizabeth shortly before the stabbing.
The police brought the two suspects — Lizette and her son, Desmond — to the station for questioning. During her interrogation, Lizette claimed Elizabeth was scratching and clawing at her while she attempted to block the attacks with her hand. Eventually, she fled upstairs and asked Desmond to call 911 before locking themselves inside her bedroom as Elizabeth banged on the door. She also alleged she did not come down before the police arrived, though she could not offer a reasonable explanation for how she managed to do so.
However, no banging noise could be heard on the 911 call recording played. Lizette also claimed she was cleaning the blood because she was concerned about staining. It is important to note she had a criminal record involving multiple assaults, and there was also anecdotal evidence that she had committed acts of violence with knives before. Desmond refused to speak without an attorney and has never made a formal statement to the police. However, during a later conversation with a private investigator, he stated he did not witness the fight.
Did Someone Kill Elizabeth Santos?
Desmond said he heard the altercation but never actually saw Elizabeth Santos stabbing or cutting herself. The police took DNA swabs and fingerprints from both suspects, and they were released from custody. The case eventually turned cold, and no one was ever charged. Instead, the authorities made a bizarre claim — the multiple stab wounds were self-inflicted. However, family and friends dismissed the claim, stating Elizabeth was not suicidal, violent, or a drug addict.
Eventually, the family received several photos of the crime scene, including pictures of several knives supposedly used in the assault. Not only were the knives free of blood, indicating either they were cleaned or never used, but the pertinent question remained how could Elizabeth fatally stab herself with multiple knives? A later examination showed a fourth knife found in the garage not far from where Lizette claimed the fight between her and Elizabeth happened. It was dirty, caked in mud and supposedly blood.
The police released footage of Lizette and Desmond being taken to the police station, where it could be seen the latter was not even cuffed and had a relaxed and calm demeanor. Despite such grave accusations being leveled against him and his mother, he could be seen smiling and laughing. Another suspicious thing was the presence of a benzodiazepine called midolosum was found in Elizabeth. This drug is used for sedation, and Lizette admitted giving Elizabeth four Benadryl pills the night before the stabbing, though she never offered any explanation.
Following Elizabeth’s death, her ex-boyfriend, Dustin, claimed she had allegedly threatened her with a knife. His sister, Katie Kurpius, dismissed her brother’s claim, stating his memory was not reliable due to his epilepsy and occasional bouts of seizures. Lizette also alleged Elizabeth had been acting erratically in the days preceding her death. But Deanne, who had been Elizabeth’s friend for more than six years, told the police she was aware the latter suffered from ADHD and took Adderall. However, she stated she did not notice any behavior change.
A neighbor also claimed to see Elizabeth fight with an unknown individual two days before the stabbing, and the person could be seen driving away in his pickup truck as she screamed at him. Another neighbor told the police she and her partner heard screams coming from Lizette’s home at the time of the stabbing. The family also noticed several desperate texts to Dustin by Elizabeth at 3:00 am the night before the stabbing. They have done their best to dissect the case and have spoken with almost all authorities about the probe.
They have expressed their concerns to the local Alaskan authorities, including the Anchorage Police Department, the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, the mayor’s office, and various local assembly members. However, despite their exhaustive search for the truth, no government entities or agencies could provide satisfactory answers. The family claimed the local media had not given any attention to the case, and the investigators in charge had allegedly seemed indifferent and dismissive towards their concerns.
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