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OSI continues to investigate March 7 death

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The investigation into the death of a Sheppard student Airman continues six months after she was found unresponsive in base lodging.

Senior Airman Blanca Luna was found in her room at 8:50 a.m. March 7 and taken to United Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 9:35 a.m. She was on temporary duty to Sheppard attending the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning course at the 366th Training Squadron.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the FBI have been conducting a joint investigation into the death. While six months may seem like a long time, officials said a thorough investigation can take many months.

Thus far, no determination has been made as to the manner of death--homicide, suicide, accident, or etc. Standard AFOSI procedure is to investigate all Airman deaths as homicides until they are determined to be otherwise. Officials have stressed, however, that there is nothing to suggest there is any danger to the Sheppard community.

To uphold investigative integrity, AFOSI does not disclose details about investigative operations or evidence found in on-going investigations. But officials did provide some general facts.

AFOSI has been the lead investigative agency since Airman Luna's death. At AFOSI's request, the FBI sent an evidence response team to process the scene immediately after Airman Luna was found, and the two agencies have continued to cooperate in the investigation. Agents have been assigned to the case on a full-time basis, and more than 350 interviews have been conducted at locations across the country. Findings have been reviewed by a diverse team of experts, including specialists in forensics, polygraph, computer investigation, behavioral psychology and forensic pathology.

Investigators have also been in regular communication with the family, updating them personally on the investigation at least four times since March and maintaining contact by phone and other means on an ongoing basis.

There is no estimate on when the investigation will be complete. Officials have asked anyone with information on this or any other OSI case to call (940) 676-1852. General questions about the case should be addressed to the Public Affairs Office at (940) 676-2732.