U.S. diplomat found dead in Ethiopian capital

Friday, February 6, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- A young American diplomat has been found dead at his house in the Ethiopian capital and foul play is suspected, U.S. and Ethiopian officials said Thursday.

A U.S. State Department official in Washington said the body of Brian Adkins was discovered Saturday in Addis Ababa on his 26th birthday. The official said Adkins had not been the subject of any threats but foul play appeared to be involved.

"It could have been random crime. We just don't know," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to privacy concerns.

Michael McClellan, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, said the death was being investigated by the Ethiopian federal police.

Police spokesman Demsash Hailu said the diplomat's death could be a homicide but the investigation was not yet finished.

In the U.S. capital, George Washington University's student newspaper, which reported the death Thursday, said Adkins was an alumnus of its Elliot School of International Affairs.

Adkins, of Columbus, Ohio, was serving as a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia. The State Department is coordinating the return of his body to the United States with his parents.

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