U.S. Defense attache found dead in Cyprus
NICOSIA, Cyprus – The U.S. defense attache in Cyprus was found dead in a remote rural area of the Mediterranean island Monday, four days after he disappeared with his diplomatic car.Lt. Col. Thomas Mooney had served as military attache in Cyprus since June 2006. The cause of his death is being investigated, U.S. Ambassador Ronald Schlicher said.Cypriot police gave no indication of whether foul play was suspected or how Mooney might have died, and the U.S. State Department ruled out an act of terrorism.Mooney, 45, who was married with children, disappeared with his black Chevrolet Impala on Thursday, prompting a ground and air search.Police said Mooney’s body was found near his car, which was parked on a dirt road in the Lefka region of rugged, hilly terrain around 28 miles west of the capital, Nicosia.”After the notification of next of kin, with deep sadness, I announce that Lt. Col. 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 a written statement.The State Department said there was no indication of terrorist involvement.”I wouldn’t point you in the direction of an act of terror,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.Mooney was last seen at around midday Thursday. The embassy conducted its own search, and Cypriot officials were notified at least a day later. Police checked ports, airports and checkpoints linking the divided island’s Greek and Turkish communities.Schlicher said the embassy was canceling an Independence Day reception late Monday “in light of these sad circumstances.”
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