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Alaska State Troopers report that Russell Hepler, 35, of Delta Junction drowned Saturday after falling into the Copper River in Chitina while dip netting. The online dispatch says troopers were notified shortly after midnight of the incident and responded to the area and Hepler’s body was later recovered. Troopers say there is no foul play and the investigation is continuing. Next of kin have been notified.

Hepler was a Sergeant First Class in the 49th Missile Defense Battalion at Fort Greely and leaves behind a wife and three young children.

This story was updated to indicate the correct spelling and rank of Sergeant First Class Hepler.

Michael Paschall is the editor and publisher of Delta Wind and can be reached at