YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Air Force officials said Friday they have yet to determine the cause of Chief Master Sgt. Winfred B. Harrison Jr.’s death.

“We should know more by next week, after the body is officially examined,” Maj. Eric Hilliard, a 5th Air Force spokesman, said in an e-mail.

Harrison, 44, was found dead in a squadron building Thursday morning after he failed to appear for his general court-martial on charges ranging from indecent acts to being absent without leave.

He leaves behind a widow and two teenage children.

A team of chaplains, grief counselors, personnel specialists and others are providing assistance and comfort to Harrison’s family, Capt. Michael Braibish, a Yokota spokesman, said Friday.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The service’s date and time will be set once Harrison’s body has been examined and a cause of death determined, Hilliard said.

Counseling was made available to the more than 700 members of the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, where Harrison worked, immediately following the news of his death, officials said. A base chaplain and life-skills support-center representative were on hand for commander’s call at the squadron on Thursday, Braibish said. A CES member found the chief in one of the squadron buildings.

“The death is still very recent, and it may take some time before we realize its full impact,” Braibish said.

Harrison held various duty titles in the 374th CES since arriving at Yokota in 1997, from chief of the 441-person operations flight, to — most recently — the housing noncommissioned officer-in-charge.

Lt. Col. Judith Bittick, who relinquished the squadron’s command on July 18, said Thursday was “a very tough day for the CE squadron. People are still in shock. It will take a while for people to go through the normal grieving process” and continue to heal.

Yokota’s 374th Airlift Wing commander, Col. Mark Schissler, said the Yokota community’s thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Harrison family: “His death is a tragedy to the chief’s family, Yokota Air Base and the Air Force.”

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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