The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 31, 2012

Navy probing local sailor’s death in Japan

— A 25-year-old naval officer from Johnstown was found dead Sunday at a Japanese train station not far from where he was stationed.

The death of Petty Officer 2nd Class Samuel L. Stiles is being investigated as either an accident or a crime.

According to Stars and Stripes, the newspaper that reports on events regarding U.S. service members, Stiles was found facedown on the train station platform.

The cause of death is under investigation, but Japanese media reported he was believed to be climbing on top of a train when he was shocked by an overhead power line, fell and hit his head.

It was reported that several alcoholic-beverage containers were found near his body.

Blood tests for alcohol toxicity were not complete.

Stiles was stationed at the U.S. base in Sasebo, a city in Nagasaki.

He is the son of the late Coletta (McVay) Stiles, Walter A. Stiles III and Rebecca Stiles, former stepmother, all of Johnstown. He has several other relatives residing in the city. He also leaves behind a son, Ledger Elliot Stiles.

According to his Facebook page, Stiles joined the Navy in 2006 and previously had served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

“I’ve been to 13 different countries,” he wrote on Facebook. “I want to travel the world. I want to spend time in Germany, Spain, France, England, Argentina, Australia, Peru, and surrounding areas. I would like to take a few years and be a migrant worker. I’m not ready to go back to America and settle down. I want to live my life first. I want friends from all around the world.”

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