Ex-AWOL guardsman in custody
HONOLULU — A member of the Coast Guard who disappeared more than three months ago and showed up at his home during the weekend was released from the hospital on Wednesday and in military custody at Pearl Harbor.
Tripler Army Medical Center cleared Petty Officer 1st Class Russell Matthews on Tuesday night, Coast Guard spokesman Chief Warrant Officer Gene Maestas said.
When the 36-year-old vanished in October, he was in the process of being discharged from the Coast Guard for illegal use of marijuana, Maestas said.
He hasn't been arrested. But Maestas said Matthews' unauthorized absence for three months and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance make him a flight risk, so his commanding officer ordered him into pretrial confinement at the Naval Brig on Ford Island while the Coast Guard investigates his case.
Maestas said he doesn't know where Matthews has been or what he's been doing since he went missing in October. He said that would come out in the investigation.
“We want to know, too,” Maestas said.
The Coast Guard will decide what step to take next. A legal review and an independent review will be conducted in the next seven days, Maestas said.
Matthews is a rescue swimmer with 15 years of experience in the Coast Guard. He's been stationed at Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu for five years.
Honolulu police said Matthews returned home Sunday, but he was incoherent and taken to a hospital for observation. He later called his command.
Matthews' wife reported him missing in October.
Police later found his car abandoned at Kaena Point, a remote area of Oahu.
At the time, police said Matthews was emotionally distraught, and his friends and family were concerned for his welfare.
Crews from the Coast Guard, Navy, state, county lifeguards and Honolulu fire and police departments together searched more than 10,000 nautical square miles — on land and at sea — for Matthews. The search was called off on Dec. 13.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Mine regulators move to expand safety feature
- Senate Dems get 34th vote to hand Obama victory on Iran deal
- More Hillary emails have parts blocked, ruled classified
- Clinton: Women ‘expect’ extremism from terrorists, not GOP candidates
- West Point law professor resigns amid remarks that critics of war on terror are ‘treasonous’
- New Orleans slow to heal 10 years after Hurricane Katrina
- CIA joins special ops in secret terrorist hunt in Syria
- Outrage greets wildlife officials’ plan to kill bear cub that approached hiker in Connecticut
- Obama marks Hurricane Katrina anniversary in New Orleans visit
- Thousands in New Orleans became targets of unscrupulous contractors
- Suspect in Houston-area deputy’s death has history of mental illness, prosecutors say