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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 11:58 a.m., Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Dead Marine not shot, investigators now say

By Allison Schaefers
Advertiser Staff Writer

Investigators have identified the body of a man that washed ashore Saturday morning on Coconut Island in Kane'ohe Bay, but they haven't determined a cause of death.

The medical examiner's office performed an autopsy yesterday on Sgt. David Xiong, 24, but deferred a decision on the cause of death pending more test results, a spokesperson for the office said.

Although it was intially reported that there were gunshot wounds to Xiong's body, investigators are now saying the wounds were made by marine organisms and that there was no trauma to the body.

Xiong was found handcuffed, investigators said.

A native of Macomb, Mich., Xiong was a reservist who was activated in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He served as a military police officer from January until November and was serving as a communications specialist at Headquarters Battalion at the time of his death, said Gunnery Sgt. Rhys A. Evans, of the Marine Corps Base Hawai'i public affairs office.

Xiong was reported absent without leave on Wednesday when he failed to show up for work, Evans said.

Xiong's body was discovered by island security officers.

At the time of his death, Xiong was wearing a gray T-shirt, white knee-length shorts, a black-leather belt and black Vans sandals.

Police estimate the body may have been in the water two or three days. Pinpointing a time of death will be a key factor for Honolulu police homicide detectives, who are being assisted by Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents.

Xiong was last seen at 5 p.m. May 13 near the 7-Day Store on the Kane'ohe Marine base. He was wearing a camouflage utility uniform, police said.

Anyone with information about Xiong's whereabouts following that time may contact detective James Anderson at 529-3356 or call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

CrimeStoppers will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that results in the arrest of a wanted person or the solving of the case.