USCG Seaman Arrested, Charged with Murder

The Coast Guard arrested 19-year-old Michigan native Coast Guard Seaman Ethan Tucker at Coast Guard Island on Wednesday, Aug. 28. Tucker stands charged with the Jan. 26 murder of his shipmate Seaman Ethan Kelch. Both were serving aboard Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro near Dutch Harbor, Ak., when the alleged murder occurred. The pair were on liberty.

According to the Coast Guard, Tucker strangled and struck his victim on the head with enough force to cause severe injury. Tucker then placed the incapacitated Kelch in the water and left him to die.  

When Kelch did not return from liberty, the Coast Guard initiated a search. A search party discovered Kelch unresponsive on Amaknak Island, 2 miles north of Dutch Harbor. 

The Coast Guard reassigned Tucker to Alameda during the investigation. After his arrest, authorities transported Tucker to the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar near San Diego. The suspect now awaits an Article 32 hearing — a preliminary hearing — which will determine whether he would face a court martial. If he faces a court-martial and stands convicted of murder, Tucker faces life in prison, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge.

According to the Kelch family, their son “joined the Coast Guard because he had an overwhelming desire to save lives.”

“Our sympathy goes out to the families of both the accused and the victim,” the Coast Guard stated.