An airman who was stationed at Shaw Air Force Base and reported missing over the weekend has been found dead in an apparent suicide, according to officials.
Senior Airman Jose Llanes, 28, was reported missing Saturday and was found dead around 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said.
Llanes was found off of Relief Road, which is located west of the Route 379 and Interstate 95 intersection, about 20 miles southeast of Shaw, according to a release Wednesday from the 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office. He was an aircraft parts store journeyman who enlisted in the Air Force in 2012 and had been stationed at Shaw since March 2013.
Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker told The State that Llanes’ death appears to be a suicide. An autopsy is expected Thursday morning.
“This is a heartbreaking day for our squadron family, and for everyone else who knew Jose,” said Lt. Col. Frank Fappiano, 20th LRS Commander. “It makes us want to pull those around us a little bit closer. Jose was a beloved teammate and friend, and his presence in our unit will be sorely missed. Our sincerest condolences go to Jose’s family, friends and everyone else affected by this terrible tragedy.”
This is believed to be the third suicide of a Shaw airman in the past year, Baker said.
If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-8255.