May 10, 2012 / 9:35 PM / 7 years ago

Slain airman's body found on Alaska roadside

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Authorities are investigating the killing of a airman whose body was found by the side of an Anchorage road weeks after he disappeared, police said on Thursday.

Senior Airman Clinton Reeves is shown in this undated photo released to Reuters on May 10, 2012 by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. REUTERS/Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson/Handout

The Anchorage Police Department said the victim, found by walkers in the suburban community of Eagle River on Tuesday, was identified as Senior Airman Clinton Reeves.

Reeves, 24, was reported missing on April 23 after he failed to show up for work at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson adjacent to Anchorage, prompting a citywide search.

One of Reeves’ Air Force colleagues, 24-year-old Airman James Thomas, whom police said was one of the last people to see him alive, was charged on Wednesday with six counts of evidence tampering in the case.

“He is a person of interest in the disappearance, but we have not named him as a murder suspect,” Anchorage Police Lieutenant Dave Parker said. Thomas remained in jail on Thursday.

According to a charging document released on Wednesday, Thomas cleaned blood from his apartment, cut up and burned bloody clothes, deposited bloody towels, rags and a blood-stained loveseat in trash bins and drove Reeves’ rental car to a different neighborhood in Anchorage, then abandoned it.

Reeves was at Thomas’ apartment four days before he was reported missing, according to the document.

Thomas, who at first denied knowing anything about Reeves’ disappearance, later told detectives that he came home to find an unidentified man holding Reeves at gunpoint, the document said. Thomas then said the gunman left with Reeves.

Police have not released the cause of death or any details about a possible motive, and had little information on the relationship between Reeves and Thomas.

“We know from the charging documents that they were friends,” Parker said.

Editing By Cynthia Johnston and Xavier Briand

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