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Wed, Jan 12, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Military death remains a mystery

INQUIRY Circumstances surrounding the death of a female first sergeant are suspicious and a second task force is now starting its own investigation

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

An officer at the Taichung army reserve command post where a female non-commissioned officer (NCO) died under mysterious circumstances last week said yesterday that a second investigative team has been formed to look into the death.

Colonel Yang Tso-ming (陽作民), political warfare director of the army reserve command, said a second team was absolutely necessary to help determine the reasons behind the death of First Sergeant Chang Hsin-yun (張馨勻) -- the first death of a female officer since the armed forces started recruiting female graduates of non-military high schools or colleges for officer positions eight years ago.

Chang's body was found last Friday morning lying on the grass below the window of her fourth-floor bedroom, covered with a quilt -- her nose and mouth sealed with adhesive tape -- according to the reserve command.

"Initial investigations have ruled out the possibility that Chang was raped and killed," Yang said.

"Investigators are now focusing their inquiries in the direction of murder or suicide as the possible cause."

"An autopsy has been conducted on Chang's body. The results of the examination will not be known for seven to 10 days," the colonel said.

"Chang's death is a total mystery to us. It is clear that she died because of severe blows to the body,either by being hit by something that was wielded by another person, or by the force of the impact with the ground. But we just don't know whether she was murdered or committed suicide," he said.

"All this has to be examined by investigators,"he said.

Yang said he had no further details on Chang's death, since investigators are not releasing any information about the case.

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