Anchorage police: Body found was missing Missouri airman
Friday, May 11, 2012
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — A body found north of Anchorage was that of a 22-year-old airman missing for three weeks, police confirmed Thursday, saying no additional charges were immediately pending against another airman charged with evidence tampering in the case.
Lt. Dave Parker said the body found Tuesday was that of Senior Airman Clinton Reeves of Raytown, Mo., and that the death was being treated as a homicide.
He spoke at a news conference at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, where a private ceremony is set to take place next week for Reeves' peers in the 673rd Logistics Readiness Squadron.
"Airman Reeves was a beautiful human being," said squadron commander Lt. Col. Patricia Csank. "He was a son, and he was our brother at arms."
Reeves failed to report for work at the base April 23. His rental car was found later, with uniforms and groceries inside.
A second airman has been named a "person of interest" in the case. James Devinn Thomas, 24, was arrested late Tuesday on six felony charges of evidence tampering.
According to court documents, Thomas changed his story about his involvement with Reeves. He previously told Anchorage police his missing friend texted him a few days after he vanished, saying he was sick and getting medical treatment.
On Sunday, Thomas contacted Air Force authorities and said he found Reeves at Thomas' home on April 19, prosecutors said. Thomas said Reeves was lying on a loveseat with a towel over his head near an unknown man holding a gun.
Thomas said the man held him at gunpoint, had him turn around, and ordered him not to move. Thomas said the gunman left with Reeves.
Charging documents allege Thomas cleaned blood off furniture and a carpet and disposed of cleaning rags, towels, paper towels and the loveseat.
Parker said Thursday no other charges were pending against Thomas at this point. Authorities were looking into Reeves' disappearance, Parker said, but that no details were being released now.
Air Force officials remembered Reeves as someone who loved his job as a fuels technician. They said when President Barack Obama touched down for Air Force 1 to be refueled, Reeves was among the few technicians hand-chosen to do the job.
"He had a great love of mission," Csank said. "He aspired to have a long and successful career in the Air Force, and he was well on his way to that."
Base commander Col. Rob Evans said it is focused on Reeves, not on assigning blame.
"We will not prejudge," he said. "You know, we certainly defend the liberties that we enjoy as Americans, and one of those is the concept of innocent until proven guilty."
The evidence tampering case will be assigned to a public defender, although Thomas said in court Wednesday that his family was looking into hiring him a lawyer. The public defender's office said it had not yet assigned him an attorney.