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December 16, 2016
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October 4, 2004
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Approved For Release 2004/10/12 : CIA-RDP81 M00980R002000090062-3 Another Bizarre Turn Chilean Slaying Suspect American, M arine SaYs By Jeremiah O'Leary the American consulate to obtain the Washington Star Staff Writer kind of visas used by diplomats. A former Marine guard at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago has identified a photograph of a Chilean government official called "Juan Williams Rose" as an American resident of Chile named Michael Vernon Townley. Sgt. Edward W. Cannell III, 27, of Beltsville, who served at the embassy in Chile between 1970 and 1972, told State Department officials earlier this week that the picture of Williams in Friday's Washington Star unquestionably was the young American he knew as Mike Townley. A State Department official, last night confirmed that Washington now believes Williams and Townley are the same person. This development further compli- cates the intensifying investigation by U.S. officials into the bomb-mur- ders here of former Chilean Ambas- sador Orlando Letelier and his col- league, Ronni Moffitt. The probe took this bizarre turn after The Star printed photos of Wil- liams/Townley and "Alejandro Romeral Jara' and described them as being Chilean secret policemen who are believed to have had a role in arranging the fatal bombing at Sheridan Circle in September 1976. COPIES OF THE passport-style photographs were obtained after U.S. District Court here sent formal let- ters to the Chilean Supreme Court asking that, Williams/Townley and Romeral be interrogated about the Letelier murder with Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene Propper and FBI agents taking part in the questioning. Three days later, the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio printed the passport picture of Williams/Town- ey along with another somewhat similar photo and contended that Wil- The photos of Williams/Townley liams was actually an American. and Romeral were included in the named Michael Townley. package of legal materials sent to the The newspaper suggested that Chilean Supreme Court by District Townley was a CIA agent and had Court here. been active in the Fatherland and Investigators believe the two DINA against Marxist President Salvador Allende before he was overthrown in the military uprising of 1973. If Cannell's identification of Wil- liams as Townley is accurate, the implication is that Townley may have been recruited by the Chilean secret police organization known as DINA. Officials say there is no ques- tion that the two subjects - of the photos were representatives of the THERE REPORTEDLY is no record in FBI or CIA files of Town- ley, officials said, but news reports from Miami quoted J. Vernon Town- ley as saying his son, Michael, was living in Chile when the parents last saw him three years ago. Townley is a U.S. citizen but had lived in Chile for several years while his father worked for the Ford Motor Co. there. Cannell said Townley spoke fluent Spanish and was known to the small Marine guard detachment, to other young Americans living in Chile in the early 1970s and also was a casual acquaintance of Kelly Korry,.daugh- ter of then-Ambassador Edwin B. Korry. "He was a transmission me- chanic," said Cannell. "He used to hang around at Marine House. He had this goatee, and he could pass for a Latin; you could tell by his finger- nails that he was a mechanic. "=I never thought of him as being a political type. To me he looked like a hippie or a Peace Corps type. He liked to go to a place called the Red Lion where there was sort, of a poets' club. That kind of turned us off on him. Besides, we knew the Miriptas (a leftist activist group) hung around there so we never were that close." ASKED IF HE HAD any reason to believe Townley had any CIA connec- tions, the former Marine laughed and said, "No way. If the CIA was hiring that kind of guy, this country is in real trouble." Cannell said he would be inter- viewed tomorrow by federal investi- gators in charge of'the Letelier case about his identification of Williams official U.S. visas in 1976 and then made three trips to the United States, including stops in Miami, Washing- ton and New York. Investigators be- lieve they contacted anti-Castro Cuban exiles and arranged for them to plant the bomb that destroyed Le- telier's car on Sept. 21, 1976. Meanwhile, the Chilean govern- ment yesterday issued an official statement through the embassy here Chilean government since they had indicating it intends to coo erate ApprovRUi?9e1-Rulwste 2004l641aniCIA-RG1FMil 9$Q }Q?QW90D62-3