Former WCU Student Suspected in Parents’ Disappearance

The recent identification of a man’s bones, found last year in the forest off of Highway 107, have led authorities to arrest a Wisconsin man who is a former WCU student.

The remains of a man were found by hunters in December 1999 on a riverbank off of Moses Creek Road. The bones remained unidentified until last Thursday, when investigators matched the remains of the skull with dental records and named the victim as Allen Krnak, 55.

Krnak, his wife Donna, and their son, Thomas, had been missing since July 1998 when they left for their family cabin on a fishing trip and never returned.

Derek Nicholas Anderson, 32, formerly known as Andrew Krnak, was arrested last Friday at a halfway house in Wisconsin where he was serving a 17-month term for providing false information on student loan applications.

Anderson legally changed his name a short while after his parents’ disappearance but had been using the name on his driver’s license and college applications for some time.

He graduated magna cum laude from WCU in 1994 with a degree in psychology and physiology. He later returned to pursue a master’s degree and a second undergraduate degree but failed in the endeavors and left WCU in 1996.

When Allen Krnak’s remains were first found back in 1999, investigators also found a woman’s gold ring, a women’s size 14-16 T-shirt, and tags worn by the family dog, Hunter, who was accompanying the Krnaks when they were last seen.

Investigators hope to find the remains of Donna and Thomas Krnak, and authorities from Jackson County continue to sift through the leaves to find more evidence.

Jackson County Sheriff Jim Cruzan says that he has reason to believe that the two missing Krnaks remain to be found, and that the search will continue.

“The only time I’ll call off [the search] is when I find the other two people or they are accounted for,” said Cruzan.

On Monday, investigators began combing the area at 9am.

North Carolina prosecutors wish Wisconsin authorities to extradite Anderson to stand trial in this state, and have already charged him with first-degree premeditated murder. Anderson and his attorney, Neil McGinn, are contesting extradition.

If he stands trial and is convicted in North Carolina, Anderson could face the death penalty, while Wisconsin has no death penalty. The extradition hearing is set for March 2.

To get Anderson extradited to this state, officials must obtain a warrant from the governor. The warrant affirms that the person named by it is suspected of a crime.

Cruzan foresees that Anderson will be tried in North Carolina.

“I anticipate getting him back to North Carolina to stand trial for murder, and I’m ready to go,” said Cruzan.