The disapperance of a Virginia-based Coast Guard officer, last seen leaving a New London, Conn., bar two weeks ago, is baffling U.S., local and military authorities investigating the case.
Chief Warrant Officer Richard E. Eastman, 49, head of a radar installation team stationed in Virginia Beach, was last seen on the night of April 3, according to police. His government car, containing $5,000 worth of unclassified radar equipment, also is missing.
Two days later, New London police arrested a 26-year-old man and charged him with misuse of a credit card they said belonged to Richard Eastman. The man is being questioned in connection with Eastman's disappearance.
According to members of Eastman's family, who are offering a $1,000 reward for information on his whereabouts, the 30-year veteran had no reason to be absent without leave.
A Coast Guard helicopter searched a 20-mile offshore area near New London last week looking for the car, but found nothing.
The FBI agent on the case said yesterday that Eastman may be "an amnesia victim." But a Coast Guard commander monitoring the investigation said "None of it makes sense."
The Coast Guard said Eastman last was seen at the Groton, Conn., Navy lodge where he had been staying for about 10 days. Eastman dined with a fellow officer, and both men returned to the lodge at 10 p.m. The Coast Guard said Eastman then changed his clothes and went out. "He didn't sleep in his room that night," a Coast Guardsman said.
According to New London police, Eastman was seen leaving a Bank Street bar, "The 419 Club," at 1 a.m.
Larry (Taiwan) Brown, who was charged with using Eastman's credit cards, reportedly told police that he found Eastman's wallet in the club. The wallet later was recovered on a nearby rooftop, police said.
New London police are continuing their investigation, assisted by a special Coast Guard investigator and FBI agents who are searching from Connecticut to Virginia Beach for Eastman and his 1976 green AMC Hornet with the government license plate G-12, 33368.