Arrest made in mysterious disappearance of airman

May 10 2012 - 10:12am

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James Devinn Thomas, 24, is arraigned at the Anchorage Jail, Wednesday, May 9, 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska. Authorities in Alaska say Thomas, a 24-year-old man arrested in connection with the disappearance of another airman initially told Anchorage police his missing friend texted him after he vanished, saying he was sick and being treated. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Marc Lester)
James Devinn Thomas, 24, is arraigned at the Anchorage Jail, Wednesday, May 9, 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska. Authorities in Alaska say Thomas, a 24-year-old man arrested in connection with the disappearance of another airman initially told Anchorage police his missing friend texted him after he vanished, saying he was sick and being treated. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Marc Lester)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Anchorage police say detectives have arrested a "person of interest" in the disappearance of missing Senior Airman Clinton Reeves, last seen at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on April 19.

Airman 1st Class James Thomas, 24, is accused of tampering with evidence in the Reeves case, said police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker. Parker would not say if detectives believe Reeves, 22, is dead or alive. Detectives previously said they believe Reeves is the victim of foul play but would not say what evidence that belief is based on.

When asked if the nature of the charges against Thomas indicated Reeves was dead, Parker refused to comment.

Thomas is assigned to the Air Force's 703rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Reeves to the 673rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, according to the Air Force.

Reeves left his duty station at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson April 19 and last spoke to a friend April 23, police said. Reeves' rented red Dodge sedan was found unlocked in northeast Anchorage and recovered by police on April 27.

Senior Airman Reeves is the only child of Terry Reeves and Judy Davis. He had recently received a check for an insurance claim after a wreck totaled his vehicle, Davis said. Reeves had been looking for a replacement around the time he vanished, and detectives told his parents that Reeves might have had a significant amount of cash on him when he went missing, his mother said.

Authorities have not said if a man's body discovered Tuesday in Eagle River is that of the missing airman.

Three women walking on Golden Eagle Drive, a steep and winding road in Eagle River, discovered the body around noon beside the roadway, police said. Parker said Wednesday the man had not been positively identified and police were not releasing details about the body or what caused the man's death.

Thomas is scheduled for a court appearance at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

An Air Force spokesman said Wednesday morning an announcement in the Reeves case was scheduled for 3 p.m. at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, then called reporters several hours later to say the press conference was canceled.

The spokesman said only that "the case is evolving" and would not comment on what Anchorage police and military officials, including Reeves' commanders, had planned to talk about at the announcement. In canceling the news conference, the Air Force said it had no new information to release in the case.

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