- Associated Press - Monday, November 28, 2016

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A 21-year-old man has been charged with murder in the death of his mother, an Interior Alaska artist who was gunned down at her home in Tok.

Eli Simpson was arraigned in court Sunday on charges of first- and second-degree murder. He’s being held at the Fairbanks Correctional Center for the death of his mother, Riba Dewilde, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://bit.ly/2gwGueS).

Simpson had reported Dewilde’s death to Alaska State Troopers on Saturday morning. He told authorities his mother had abused him since he was a child and he shot her in self-defense, according to court documents.

Simpson is the youngest of Dewilde’s six children.

“My mother was an amazing, strong, talented woman,” Lana Simpson said. “My brother is the most lovable person who has ever walked this Earth … We would like it if everybody would respect our family’s privacy for right now.”

Fairbanks gallery owner Yolande Fejes said Dewilde was an accomplished artist who had her work featured at the Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center and the Alaska House Art Gallery. She also sold jewelry, which Fejes described as “wearable art,” at craft shows in Fairbanks this year.

“She was highly regarded,” Fejes said. “There was not another artist like her. She was so creative, and she did everything. She hunted and trapped and got all of her materials that way. She created things that no one had ever seen before.”

A preliminary hearing for Simpson has been set for Dec. 7.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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