July 2, 2007 / 4:15 PM / in 11 years

U.S. diplomat found dead in Cyprus

NICOSIA (Reuters) - The U.S. military attache in Cyprus was found dead with his throat slit on Monday in a remote mountainous region of the Mediterranean island in what authorities are treating as a suicide.

The body of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Mooney, 45, was found near his locked car north-west of the capital, Nicosia, four days after he went missing.

A post-mortem report said Mooney died from excessive bleeding caused by deep incisions to the throat. He was identified through dental records.

“There is no foul play involved,” forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis, who carried out the post-mortem, told Reuters.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said there was nothing to suggest Mooney’s death was an act of terrorism.

“With deep sadness, I announce that Thomas Mooney, who served his nation with distinction as our Defense Attache, was found dead by Cypriot authorities on Monday,” U.S. ambassador Ronald Schlicher said.

In spite of its close proximity to the Middle East, Cyprus is considered a relatively safe location for diplomats.

Mooney, whom fellow diplomats described as a “straight up military type”, was last seen leaving the embassy compound on Thursday afternoon.

His body was found some yards from his car which was parked on a dirt track, and a sharp implement was found in the area. He was believed to have been dead for a few days.

Mooney arrived in Cyprus on June 2006 for his second tour of duty on the island in the past five years. He lived in Cyprus on his own and had family in the United States.

The American embassy cancelled an Independence Day reception scheduled for Monday evening.

“He just came across as a highly disciplined American official doing his job,” one diplomat said.

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