Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Body Of SrA Clinton Reeves Found In Eagle River; A1C James D. Thomas Arrested And Charged With Evidence Tampering
KTVA Channel 11 reports that a body found in Eagle River on May 8th, 2012 is that of the missing SrA Clinton Reeves, who was assigned to the 673rd Logistics Readiness Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER). The circumstances and dates of Reeves' disappearance are documented in this previous post.
The announcement had not yet been confirmed by either police or Air Force officials, but Judy Davis, the mother of the missing airman, confirmed with KTVA late Wednesday night that the body found in Eagle River is that of her son. This is also confirmed on the Help Find Airman Clinton Reeves Facebook page. However, Air Force officials have now officially confirmed the information at a press conference held at 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning at JBER.
The body was found on Golden Eagle Drive near the intersection with Skyline Drive around 12:30 P.M. on May 8th by several women walking through the area. In response to their screams, nearby neighbors called 911, and police soon responded, blocking off the area. Police were quite close-mouthed about the situation for understandable reasons.
Meanwhile, a fellow airman from JBER has been identified as a person of interest and arrested. A1C James D. Thomas, assigned to the 703rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and who's been identified as a friend of Reeves, appeared in court Wednesday facing six felony counts of tampering with evidence; KTUU Channel 2 provides the five-page charging document HERE.
What troubled police is that Thomas gave three different explanations. In the first interview prior to the search, Thomas told APD homicide detectives that he had last seen Reeves on April 19th, and received a text message from Reeves which said he was ill and receiving medical attention. In the second interview on May 4th when police searched his apartment, Thomas at first said he didn't know anything about Reeves' disappearance, then said Reeves was at his residence, along with a man he didn't know, when he came home on April 19th. Thomas then ended the interview. But in a third interview with Air Force law enforcement personnel, Thomas was much more forthcoming. Thomas said he came home on April 19th to find Reeves lying on a love seat with a towel over his head, held at gunpoint by an unknown man. The gunman told Thomas to turn around, then took Reeves and left the residence. Thomas claimed not to know if Reeves walked out of the residence or if he was carried.
However, instead of immediately calling police so they could collect evidence, Thomas began to clean up his apartment, removing blood stains and discarding bloody towels in the trash. He took the bloody clothes to a different residence, cut them up and burned the clothes in the fireplace. He then moved Reeves' rental car from the parking lot out onto McCarrey Street and left it there.
James Thomas' efforts to remove the blood evidence damns him to hell, because most people in that situation wouldn't do that; the first instinct would be to call police. I wouldn't be surprised if Thomas is charged with murder within the next few days, unless Thomas contends that he was threatened if he called police. Update June 15th: Thomas has now been indicted for first and second degree murder.