Police: Death of Kadena airman being treated as homicide
Stars and Stripes February 7, 2011
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Japanese police are treating the death of a Kadena airman over the weekend as a homicide, a police spokesman said Monday evening.
Tech. Sgt. Curtis Evan Eccleston, 30, was found dead around noon Sunday in an off-base apartment he shared with his wife in the Mihama district near Camp Lester, according to Japanese police. An autopsy by Japanese authorities determined the airman bled to death from a cut on his neck, a police spokesman said.
The death is under joint investigation by Japanese authorities and the U.S. military. The Air Force issued a statement of condolence for Eccleston on Monday but said it had no new information to release.
Eccleston, who was assigned to the 733rd Air Mobility Squadron, likely died sometime around dawn on Sunday, according to estimates by investigators. Police said there were no signs of a struggle in the apartment, and the apartment door was unlocked when a fellow servicemember came to visit at noon Sunday and discovered the dead man.
The apartment is located in the Mihama area of Chatan, which is a short walk from the front gate of Camp Lester and is popular among U.S. servicemembers because of its shopping areas and public beaches.
Police would not comment on Japanese media reports that there might have been a disturbance at Eccleston’s apartment the night before he was found dead.
For most of Sunday afternoon, the apartment building where the incident occurred, which sits above a tattoo parlor and other businesses, was taped off and surrounded by Japanese and U.S. military authorities, including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
Japanese authorities draped a large blue tarp over balconies at the building to obscure views of the scene.