Coroner rules missing airman's death a suicide - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Coroner rules missing airman's death a suicide

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Family members called off the search Friday for a U.S. Air Force sergeant missing since Tuesday.

David Cummings, commander of Red Rock Search and Rescue, says Friday afternoon volunteers discovered a deceased man with a single gunshot wound to the head about a mile away from the search command post off the 95 and Corn Creek Road. Cummings says the body was inside a vehicle that appears to be that of Tech. Sgt. Derek Langford.

The Clark County Coroner's Office confirms the identity of the man in the vehicle to be that of Derek Langford. Langford's death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head and has been ruled a suicide.

Family members say they hadn't heard from Langford since Tuesday, when he wrote on Facebook that he would be test-driving his newly purchased 1992 GMC four-wheeler in the desert.

Derek Langford's brother, Stephen Langford, says his family filed a missing person's report in North Las Vegas Thursday evening.

"He's a great dad, a great person. He's the first person of anybody I know to volunteer himself to help anybody else out," Stephen Langford said of his older brother.

Langford said his wife started a Facebook page called "Find Derek Safe" hoping the community could help in the search. Cummings says that's how Red Rock Search and Rescue got involved in the search efforts. He says a couple of hours after volunteers started searching, they spotted a truck matching the description of Langford's vehicle.

"Our paramedic approached the vehicle and confirmed that there was a male deceased from a single gunshot wound to the head," Cummings explained. He says a small group of airmen identified the man as Derek Langford before notifying the family.

"This isn't a happy ending, but at least they can go on with their lives. They have an answer," Cummings added.

Friday evening, a family member posted, "Thank you all for your help. He has been found, and is no longer with us. Please say a prayer," on the "Find Derek Safe" Facebook page.

Family members, meanwhile, still searching for answers as to why their loved one, who spent 12 years serving in the Air Force, died. They say Langford's young daughter was the light of his life.

Cummings says there was no damage to the vehicle.

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