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Two suspects linked to airman's murder in custody

Date Posted: 2011-02-25

U.S. and Japanese prosecutors and police are quickly putting the pieces together in the stabbing death of a technical sergeant stationed at Kadena Air Base, taking into custody one of the victim's friends and also his ex-wife.

Investigators also retrieved a rucksack from the sea at a port in Toyosaki, Tomigusuku, containing two knives. Based on questioning of the two suspects, police sent divers to the site to search for the rucksack. Investigators suspect that one or both of the knives were used in the murder.

Curtis Eccleston, a 30-year-old assigned to Kadena's 733rd Air Mobility Squadron, was found murdered in his Chatan apartment February 6th. He'd been stabbed to death. A 26-year-old acquaintance was taken into custody by the Air Force, which has primary jurisdiction in the case under the Status of Forces Agreement, on February 13th. Some reports say the man has confessed to military investigators. An individual familiar with the criminal investigation says the airman will be tried by courts martial once the entire case is sorted out.

Meanwhile, Okinawa Prefectural Police have apprehended Eccleston's ex-wife, on suspicion of conspiracy in the case. Eccleston and his 32-year-old Brazilian-Japanese wife had divorced only recently.

According to local media reports, investigators have established that the airman in custody did the actual killing on the urging by Eccleston's wife.

Okinawa Prefecture Police say they'll continue working the overall presentation of the case with American investigators.

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