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New details emerging a year after local Naval officer found dead

By: Kerri Corrado


New details emerging a year later after a Naval officer from Johnstown was found dead on a train platform in Japan.

Stars and Stripes magazine report that 25-year old navy sailor Samuel Stiles did not die alone and that his friend finally confessed to running away from the scene.

Samuel Stiles' brother opened up to 6news and says he's happy the truth is finally out there, but now wonders if his brother could have been saved that night.

"Since day one I never tried to stop finding out what happened," Walter Stiles said.

He has been fighting for justice ever since he received word that his younger brother was found dead.

"I got a hold of the Navy and let them know this kid was with my brother the night that he died you need to see what's going on," he said.

According to Stars and Stripes magazine, Navy Officials determined that Stiles' friend, Petty Officer 2nd class David Lange, was at the train station and ran away when Stiles fell.

The report says Stiles died up to 90 minutes later from a spine fracture, not electrocution.

"I think the kid is a coward because in the military you are taught day one of basic training to never leave a wingman, Marine, sailor and to have their back no matter what," he said.

Stars and Stripes magazine says Lange pleaded guilty to making false statements and disorderly conduct, sentenced to eight months confinement, got a reduction in rank, a $10,000 fine, and was given a bad conduct discharge.

Walter says he believes there are two reasons Lange didn't come forward:

"Because they were both intoxicated and two, because Lange was scared he was going to get in trouble for violating curfew. He didn't want it to seem like he had anything to do with Sam's death," he said.

Now Stiles' family is left wondering if he could have been saved.

"He is the one who has to live the rest of his life with the decisions he made that night," he added.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times