Foul Play Suspected in Death of U.S. Diplomat in Ethiopia

A young American diplomat has been found dead at his house in the Ethiopian capital and foul play is suspected, U.S. and Ethiopian officials said Thursday.

A U.S. State Department official said the body of Brian Adkins was discovered Saturday in Addis Ababa. The official said Adkins had not been the subject of any threats but that foul play appeared to be involved.

"It could have been random crime. We just don't know," the official told reporters in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity due to privacy concerns.

Adkins would have turned 26 on Tuesday, according to his father, Dan Adkins of Columbus, Ohio.

"We were told that his injuries could not have been self-inflicted," he said.

Michael McClellan, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, said the death was being investigated by the Ethiopian federal police.

Police spokesman Demsash Hailu said the diplomat's death could be a homicide but that the investigation was still under way.

Adkins was serving as a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia.

He was a 2001 graduate of Whitehall-Yearling High School in suburban Columbus, winning a four-year scholarship to George Washington University in Washington, where he also attended graduate school.

"It cost his mother and father very little to educate him because of all the awards he won," Dan Adkins said. "He was a brilliant guy, an amazing man."

The U.S. State Department is coordinating the return of the body to the United States with his parents.