Yokosuka wife falls to death hours after infant child dies
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A Yokosuka woman tumbled to her death from her ninth-story base apartment Thursday, hours after her infant daughter was pronounced dead and police began investigating the baby’s death.
The woman, the Japanese-born wife of a USS Gary sailor, was found around 6:30 a.m., according to base spokesman Mike Chase. She was found lying on the grass in front of the Jyuban Tower apartments, witnesses said.
Her death occurred less than 24 hours after her infant daughter was pronounced dead at the base hospital shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday, and after Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents and Japanese authorities began investigating the 2-month-old’s death.
Now the NCIS and Japanese police are investigating the woman’s death as well, Chase said. Japanese authorities are involved because the woman was a Japanese citizen. Chase declined to comment on the baby’s cause of death.
The names of the couple and the baby were being withheld until family members could be notified.
Neighbors said the couple kept to themselves, and that they so rarely went in or out of their apartment or made any noise that some neighbors on the same floor thought the apartment was vacant. But some neighbors said the couple appeared to be in their 20s, and that they also had a child of about 3 years old.
Neighbors said NCIS and Japanese police began searching the couple’s apartment — one of 54 units in one of the older buildings on base — Wednesday afternoon. The authorities, wearing rubber gloves and checking carpets, worked at the apartment and in the common hallway until about 11 p.m., neighbors said.
Investigators asked neighbors if they’d heard anything unusual on Wednesday morning, one of them said, but she said she told them she hadn’t heard anything out of the ordinary.
Chase said the sailor was on base Thursday night, but he declined to specify where. Chase said no one was in custody.
After the woman was discovered Thursday morning, an ambulance came from the base hospital only a few hundred yards down the road, and a small group of people who were passing by or who worked at the base Personnel Support Detachment, just across the street from the apartment building, gathered.
“I saw a body on the ground, and they were trying to rescusitate the person, then it looked like it wasn’t working and they rushed them off,” said a sailor who declined to be identified. The sailor said he was perhaps 20 feet away from where the woman lay, and that the woman had been taken away within about 10 minutes.
Base security blocked off streets and roped off the building, snarling trafficinto and out of the base by 9:30 a.m. Thursday. By Thursday night, however, there was no trace of what had occurred.
This is the second time in the past eight years that someone has fallen to their death from a Yokosuka Naval Base apartment building. In 1996, an 18-month-old girl fell from an apartment balcony, Chase said.