Police Confirm Body Found is Reeves'; Another Airman Arrested
Airman James Thomas called person of interest in case of missing Airman Reeves
UPDATE: Judy Davis, the mother of missing airman Clinton Reeves, confirmed to KTVA late Wednesday night that the body found in Eagle River Tuesday is her son's.
Thursday morning, Anchorage police confirmed the body was Reeves' at a press conference at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
ANCHORAGE - A 24-year-old airman has been charged in connection with the disappearance of another 24-year-old airman, Clinton Reeves.
James Thomas has been charged with multiple counts of tampering with evidence related to the disappearance of Reeves, who's described as a friend of Thomas, according to court documents.
But those are the only charges so far. Anchorage Police say right now Thomas is only a person of interest in Reeves' disappearance.
Thomas is facing six Class C felony counts of tampering with evidence. Police are not willing to say whether Thomas is directly responsible for his friend's disappearance, but charging documents paint a picture of a man who has something to hide.
Facing a judge in handcuffs, Airman First Class James Thomas didn't say much as he heard the charges against him. He’s charged with six counts of tampering with evidence in connection to the disappearance of Airman Clinton Reeves.
“We believe he destroyed, altered, or somehow changed evidence, got rid of evidence,” said Anchorage Police spokesperson Lieutenant Dave Parker.
According to court documents, Thomas told three different versions of what happened. “There were several different renditions of stories that Mr. Thomas gave both to our investigators and to the [Air Force Office of Special Investigations] investigators,” Parker said.
Detectives say Thomas told them he last saw Reeves on April 19. Then, he told them Reeves sent him a text message on April 22 saying he was sick and getting medical treatment. But police say cell phone records show Thomas lied.
During a search of Thomas' home detective’s say they found evidence of a “violent incident.” They say the carpet had recently been cleaned. On May 4, Thomas told Anchorage police he didn't know anything about Reeves' disappearance. Then Thomas said on April 19 Reeves was at his home with someone else.
But two days later, Thomas told Air Force authorities another story. Thomas said he came home on April 19 to find Reeves on his couch with a towel over his head and another man with a gun. Reeves and that man eventually left and then, Thomas says, he began cleaning up blood and threw away bloody towels, rags, and couch into dumpsters. Thomas says he then burned some bloody clothes and drove Reeves' rented Dodge Avenger away from his home and parked it on McCarrey Street, where it was found.
But police are not jumping to any conclusions yet. “At this time we can't say that he is responsible specifically, but we will be certainly looking hard at him,” said Parker. “There [are] some things, as we learned in the Samantha Koenig investigation, that cannot be revealed in real time to the public, there [are] certain things that they have to hold back.”
The Air Force now has two airmen out of commission. “We are aware of the charges filed against Airman First Class Thomas,” said Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson spokesperson Major Joseph Coslett.
His friends and family members are holding out hope that the body found yesterday in Eagle River is not that of Reeves.
“We do not know at this time for sure if Mr. Reeves is deceased or is still alive,” said Parker. For now, police say Reeves is still a missing person.
Besides saying the investigation into Reeves disappearance continues, officials are being pretty tight-lipped, only saying Thomas, who is part of the 703rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, is still only a person of interest. In the meantime they are awaiting an ID on the Eagle River body, which is a combination of waiting for DNA and dental records – a process that could take days or weeks.
To see Thomas's charging documents, click here.
This is a developing story.