Marines mum on details surrounding girl’s death on Okinawa
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Marine Corps is investigating the death of a child more than a week ago on base but is declining to provide details or the circumstances of her death, officials said Wednesday.
Marine officials also declined to comment on reports to Stars and Stripes from several people that a Marine was being held in connection with the incident.
“This issue is currently under investigation and it would be inappropriate to discuss details about it until the investigation is complete,” 1st Lt. Garron Garn, a Marine public affairs officer, said in an e-mail to a Stripes query.
A Department of Defense Dependent Schools news release identified the child only as a girl who attended kindergarten at Zukeran Elementary School on Camp Foster.
DODDS-Pacific spokesman Charles Steitz said the girl’s name was being withheld due to sensitivities for the family.
Officials at the U.S. Naval Hospital on Camp Lester, where autopsies involving active-duty servicemembers and their dependents are performed, would neither comment on the case nor confirm that an autopsy had been done without the child being named in a query.
The girl died Oct. 22, according to a school handout informing parents of the death.
A Stars and Stripes reporter learned about the death at a Bible study meeting Friday at a private home, when a parishioner requested prayer for the family and others affected by the death.
Later, the newspaper received other reports that a Marine was being held in the Camp Hansen brig in relation to the death.
Officials at Zukeran also declined to talk about the death, but said counselors are assisting students.
“The school counselor and psychologist went to the classroom to inform her classmates of the loss and offer emotional support as needed. They remained available to provide assistance,” Steitz said. “A letter was also sent home informing the parents about the loss of the student and to help them support their child.”