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2 Sailors Arrested In Death Of Chandler Serviceman

August 11, 1987

PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) _ Two sailors allegedly robbed and killed a 20-year-old crewman who disappeared from a U.S. aircraft carrier stationed in the Middle East, Navy officials said.

Cmdr. Ron Wildermuth, spokesman for the Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet, said Monday that Martin Sturdy, from the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, apparently was hit on the head with a wrench, stabbed and thrown off the USS Constellation into the northern Arabian Sea.

His body has not been found after he was reported missing last Friday from the ship.

″The motive was robbery,″ Wildermuth said, adding that murder and robbery charges will be formally filed within three days.

At that time, Wildermuth said the names of the two men, who are being held aboard the Constellation, will be released.

The two sailors will be transferred to a shore brig at an undetermined location this week and after that, they may be taken to Hawaii, San Diego or Subic Bay in the Philippines for a court-martial, Wildermuth said.

Sturdy was reported dead Sunday after a two-day search of the ship and surrounding waters failed to turn up his body.

Fred Larsen, spokesman for the Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet, said it is probable that Sturdy was dead before he was thrown overboard.

There were reports that Sturdy was trying to collect $1,500 he recently won playing cards with shipmates and may have been killed over the gambling money, but Larsen said he was unsure of that situation.

He said the Naval Investigative Service, the counterintelligence and crime investigative unit of the Navy, is conducting the investigation aboard the 5,000-man ship.

The Constellation, which provides air support for Navy ships escorting tankers in the Persian Gulf, had been at sea 52 days when Sturdy was reported missing.

Sturdy had been a crew member of the Constellation since February 1986 after joining the Navy in November 1985. He was assigned to the weapons department, where he loaded munitions onto the aircraft.

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