Dead US diplomat in Cyprus 'stabbed himself'
Turkish Press – Monday July 2, 2007
The US embassy's defence attache in Cyprus was found dead on Monday on a hilltop in a remote part of the Mediterranean island after apparently stabbing himself in the neck, officials said.
Thomas Mooney "died as a result of haemorrhaging after the infliction of an injury to the neck," an official involved in the post-mortem told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"The injury was compatible with self-infliction. There was no evidence of foul play whatsover," the official said, adding that the wound was caused by a sharp instrument and that the body was in a state of decomposition.
Police confirmed he had died as a result of a large wound to the neck, but declined to describe it as suicide, which is illegal in Cyprus.
US ambassador Ronald Schlicher had earlier confirmed that the body of a man found in the foothills of the Troodos mountains southwest of Nicosia was Mooney, who was last seen on Thursday.
"After notification of next of kin, with deep sadness, I announce that Thomas Mooney, who served his nation with distinction as our defence attache, was found dead by Cypriot authorities on Monday," he said in a statement.
"The cause of his death is being investigated."
Police cordoned off the area following the discovery of the body, amid reports a blade was found at the scene.
The US State Department had said it did not believe terrorism was behind his death.
"I would not point you in the direction of an act of terrorism," spokesman Sean McCormack said in Washington. "I don't think there is anything pointing in that direction."
State-run Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation radio also reported that investigators "seem to be ruling out foul play" after an initial forensic probe at the scene.
Police told AFP that the body was found near Mooney's abandoned car, which showed no signs of damage and had been locked, according to reports.
The 45-year-old diplomat, who had the rank of lieutentant-colonel and was married with children, was last seen leaving the US embassy in Nicosia around midday on Thursday.
He had been serving in Cyprus for more than a year on his second posting to the country.
Mooney reportedly said he was going to a hotel gym on the day he left the embassy, while another version had him going to the airport.
The US embassy issued a statement saying it had cancelled a July 4 celebration planned for Monday.
"In light of the circumstances regarding Mr Mooney the US embassy is cancelling this evening's Independence Day reception," the statement said.
Cyprus is not considered a dangerous posting for foreign diplomats.
US ambassador Rodger Davies was shot dead in August 1974 when Greek Cypriot demonstrators, angry at what they saw as US connivance in that year's Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus, attacked the embassy.
The last serious incident was in 1988, when a planned bombing of the Israeli embassy went awry. A explosives-laden car on the way to the embassy exploded nearby, killing the Lebanese driver and two Cypriot pedestrians.
Last updated 05/07/2007