NEWS

US envoy found dead on Cyprus

The defense attache at the US Embassy in Cyprus was found dead yesterday on a hilltop in a remote part of the Mediterranean island, four days after he went missing. US Ambassador Ronald Schlicher confirmed that the body of a man found in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, southwest of Nicosia, was defense attache Thomas 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 defense attache, was found dead by Cypriot authorities on Monday,» he said in a statement.«The cause of death is being investigated.» No further details were provided. Mooney, aged 45, was last seen leaving the embassy compound around midday last Thursday. His body was found a few meters from his car which was parked on a dirt track. He was believed to have been dead for several days. Cypriot police gave no indication of whether police suspected foul play or how the man might have died. State-run Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation Radio, however, reported that investigators seem to be ruling out foul play after an initial forensic probe at the scene. The US State Department in Washington said there was nothing to suggest Mooney’s death was an act of terrorism. In spite of its close proximity to the Middle East, Cyprus is considered a relatively safe location for diplomats. Mooney, who was married with children, arrived in Cyprus on June 2006 for what was his second tour of duty on the island in the past five years. He lived in Cyprus on his own. The American Embassy canceled an Independence Day reception scheduled for last night.