EXCLUSIVE: Security video caught Marine with murder victim, but he claims he's innocent

EXCLUSIVE: Security video caught Marine with murder victim, but he claims he's innocent
Published: Jun. 7, 2013 at 1:31 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 8, 2013 at 4:07 PM HST
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Nathaniel Cosby
Nathaniel Cosby
Ivanice "Ivy" Harris
Ivanice "Ivy" Harris
Kim Buffett
Kim Buffett

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A U.S. Marine caught on security video with a homicide victim before she disappeared last month told Honolulu police he spent the night with the woman but did not kill her, sources told Hawaii News Now on Friday.

Marine Master Sgt. Nathaniel Cosby, 38, was released from the Honolulu Police Department's main cellblock around 9:30 a.m. Friday without being charged, nearly 48 hours after he was detained at Honolulu International Airport. Honolulu police can only hold someone without charges for two days before they must be released.

Cosby held up some papers to try to shield his face from news cameras as he got into a Naval Criminal Investigative Service van outside HPD.  He declined to answer reporters' questions.

Based in Iwakuni, Japan, Cosby is a bomb technician. After being released by HPD Friday, he was temporarily assigned to an aircraft unit at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe, where a U.S. Marines spokesman said he will be free to come and go as he pleases like all other Marines.

Cosby told police he picked up the homicide victim -- 28 year old Ivanice "Ivy" Harris of Oregon -- and spent the night with her at his Waikiki hotel, sources said.

One source did not know the hotel involved, while another source refused to divulge the information.

But sources said Cosby told detectives he did not kill her.

Cosby became a suspect because surveillance video from his Waikiki hotel showed the two of them together, sources said.

An HPD spokeswoman said his arrest had nothing to do with a Craigslist post trying to sell a ring and necklace Harris was last seen wearing, as her friends and family had told reporters Thursday.

The hotel security video showed Cosby struggling to drag a heavy suitcase out of Cosby's Waikiki hotel the morning after the two of them were caught on video in the hotel's lobby, a source said. Police are now testing the suitcase for DNA evidence, sources said.

"There is some evidence but not enough to satisfy prosecutors," a source said.  The source would not detail what type of evidence they were referring to. Another source described the evidence as "circumstantial at this point."

Asked if police still need help from witnesses, Crimestoppers representative Sgt. Kim Buffett said, "I don't know if they need any more witnesses. I don't think they do. I think right now the investigation is in the detectives' hands and they are going to work with what they have right now."

Harris' nude body was discovered May 20 on the side of Farrington Highway near Yokohama Bay in Leeward Oahu, four days after she was last seen outside a Waikiki bar. Her friends and family claimed she was four weeks pregnant at the time of her death.

Police said Harris' body was badly decomposed. The Honolulu Medical Examiner has not been able to determine her cause of death, which makes this a difficult case for homicide detectives.

"We are waiting for the results of tests," said Honolulu City Prosecutors office spokesman Dave Koga. He said he could not disclose further details because it's an active investigation.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service continues to support the HPD investigation, a Marine Corps spokesman said.

"The Marine Corps and its commanders take all allegations of criminal misconduct involving Marines seriously and are fully cooperating with the investigation," said Lt. Col. David Griesner, the director of the public affairs office of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, III Marine Expeditionary Force in Japan.

Cosby is an explosive ordnance disposal technician who has been in the Marines since 1998. The Jefferson, Ala. native was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.  His last combat tour was in 2011, the newspaper Stars and Stripes reported.

Harris grew up in Oregon, but more recently was living in Las Vegas. She traveled to Hawaii with her boyfriend and friends to celebrate her 29th birthday.  Her mother, Patricia Harris, said Ivy had recently learned she was pregnant.

"Oh, she would've been the best mother in the world," Patricia Harris told Portland television station KPTV.

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