Air Force pilot found dead in apartment searched earlier for child porn

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Air Force Base pilot was found dead Friday in an apartment that was searched earlier in the week as part of an international child pornography investigation. Police said he committed suicide.

Elmendorf Air Force Base spokesman 1st Lt. Johnny Rea identified the dead man as 1st Lt. Sean Galliher, a C-130 pilot with the 517th Airlift Squadron. Rea said Galliher had been at Elmendorf since November. Rea said he was not authorized to release Galliher's hometown or other records.

Anchorage police and fire departments responded to Apartment 108 of The Highlands luxury apartment complex at about 2:25 p.m. after an apartment manager reported finding a man hanging inside his residence.

The manager had received a phone call from a friend of Galliher urging her to check on him, said Bruce Pozzi, spokesman for Weidner Properties, which manages The Highlands. The friend insisted it was an emergency, Pozzi said, telling the manager the man had been distraught and he could not reach him.

Police Sgt. Gary Apperson said he committed suicide.

Agents from the U.S. Customs Service and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations were at the scene Friday along with Detective Glen Klinkhart, the Anchorage Police Department's computer crimes expert.

Klinkhart confirmed the three agencies had served a federal search warrant Tuesday night at Apartment 108 as part of Operation Artus, a child porn investigation involving 11 countries. Klinkhart declined to comment further, saying it is a Customs case.

Kevin Blackmore, head Customs agent in Anchorage, declined to comment on the investigation or the death. Blackmore referred inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Anchorage, which did not reply to a phone message left Friday afternoon.

Michael Flemming, Customs regional spokesman in Long Beach, Calif., said the search warrant executed Tuesday remains sealed and he could not discuss what was taken from the apartment.

James Martin, an Air Force Special Investigations agent at the scene, also declined to comment.

Police turned the scene over to the Air Force investigators.

In a news release issued Wednesday, the Customs Service said it, in conjunction with authorities in 10 foreign countries, targeted 46 people believed to be exchanging child porn over the Internet. The operation began in November when German police discovered one of the porn ring's members.

In the United States, eight individuals were named as suspects in seven states.

''The U.S. targets of the investigation include a U.S. military pilot, a network administrator for a publishing company, a registered nurse, an artist and several other individuals,'' according to Customs.

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