Airman’s spouse accused in beating death released
Stars and Stripes June 8, 2007
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — An Air Force servicemember’s husband who was accused of beating to death his 8-year-old stepson in April was released Wednesday by Japanese authorities.
No charges were filed against Robert E. Deleon, whose wife is assigned to Kadena Air Base, but the investigation remains open, said a spokesman for the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Deleon, 25, had been in Japanese police custody since his arrest May 16 in connection with the death of Jordan D. Peterson, his wife’s son and a student at Kadena Elementary School.
Kadena base spokeswoman Maj. Dani Johnson said the Air Force would respect the decision Japanese authorities have made because the case is under their jurisdiction.
Issues such as whether Deleon will be allowed on base still are being worked out, she said. Meanwhile, the boy’s mother, who left for the States shortly after her son’s death, has returned to Okinawa, Johnson said.
The U.S. military cannot prosecute civilian dependents but can refer cases to federal authorities.
It was not known late Wednesday whether Kadena officials were considering that avenue.
Neither Japanese nor Air Force officials are releasing the mother’s name. A Japanese police report listed her age as 29.
According to the police report, Deleon called his wife at work around noon on April 11 and told her that Jordan was not breathing. His wife rushed home with a military ambulance following.
Jordan was taken to the U.S. Naval Hospital on Camp Lester, where he was pronounced dead about two hours later from blood loss from injuries to internal organs, the report said.
According to a spokesman for Okinawa prefectural police in Uruma, on the day when the incident occurred, Deleon was in the family’s off-base home with his stepson and 10-year-old stepdaughter after his wife had left for work.
Police forwarded a charge of bodily injuries resulting in death against Deleon on May 17.
Five months earlier, a Japanese woman found the boy walking alone in shorts and bare feet on a cold November day in Uruma. The woman, Hisa Uechi, 22, told Stars and Stripes in a recent interview that she saw dark bruises on the boy, who told her he was running away from home.
The boy was taken to Okinawa police, who contacted military police and learned a missing-person report had been filed by the boy’s parents.
A police spokesman said there had been no signs the boy had been abused at the time, and that he was returned to his parents when they arrived to pick him up.
Brian Davis, a spokesman at the naval hospital, said in a statement two weeks ago that the boy had never been treated at the facility before April 11, when he was brought in with his fatal injuries.
Stars and Stripes reporter Megan McCloskey contributed to this report.