Cause of Okinawa Marine’s fatal fall still unknown


CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Four days after his death, questions remain over what caused an Okinawa Marine’s fatal fall from a building in the capital city of Naha.

An autopsy found the Marine, a male in his early 20s, died from blood loss caused by a fractured pelvis, an injury consistent with a high fall, Okinawa’s prefecture police said Monday. It also showed the Marine drank alcohol before he died, but police said it was unclear how much.

The man split with a group of servicemembers who were partying in a downtown entertainment district and was discovered around 7:25 a.m. Thursday lying in a narrow concrete alley between an apartment building and a vocational school in Naha’s Tomari area, a police spokesman told Stars and Stripes.

The Marine Corps has declined to comment on the case but said it planned to release the Marine’s identity Tuesday.

Japanese authorities have taken the lead in the investigation. The death is being examined from “multiple angles” and foul play has not been ruled out, the spokesman said. It is uncertain whether he fell from the apartment building or the school.

The apartment abutting the alley has some small balconies but also a secured entrance for residents only. The school has a flat wall facing the alley with no stairs or windows, only some drainage pipes.

The site is within walking distance of the Makishi district along Naha’s Kokusai Street, a bustling tourist area packed with shops, restaurants and bars.

It was unclear why the Marine left Makishi or ended up in the neighboring Tomari district.

All servicemembers on Okinawa are still restricted from drinking alcohol at bars and clubs. They are allowed no more than two drinks in off-base restaurants and only during dinner time.

The alcohol rules were enacted after incidents of misbehavior last year that included climbing and falling from buildings.

tritten.travis@stripes.com; sumida.chiyomi@stripes.com

Police tape marks the Naha alley where a Marine was found dead Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013.
Chiyomi Sumida/Stars and Stripes


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