Navy Seaman Francisco Rivera, 23, had just gotten back from a six-month tour aboard the Air Wing of the USS Nimitz on December 10. Three days later, police found Rivera and his 22-year-old wife Marie Aurora dead in the couples' home in Bremerton, Washington.
After examining the scene, police believe that Francisco stabbed his wife multiple times and then hanged himself. There were signs of violent struggle throughout the house. Police did not release a motive for the crime, although they said the investigation was ongoing.
"Cops all over the place, a firetruck, an ambulance," said neighbor Jena Staples to Komo News. "Obviously we thought something domestic had happened."
"I think it's pretty pathetic of him because he killed her and then hung himself," added Alexis Gregory, another neighbor of the Riveras.
In a statement, the US Navy said that Rivera had never received a citation for disciplinary problems in his two years in the Navy, nor had he demonstrated a propensity for violence. When asked if he had demonstrated troubling behavior or mental unwellness, they declined to comment, saying that such questions were within the scope of the police investigation.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and crew members affected during this difficult time," the Navy statement reads.
The Riveras were both natives of Anchorage, Alaska, marrying in 2015 — the same year that Francisco enlisted. Reportedly, they had moved to their Bremerton home fairly recently. The couple lived just a few miles outside of the Nimitz's home port of Naval Base Kitsap, about 30 miles from Seattle.
The USS Nimitz is the oldest American aircraft carrier in service, having been ordered in 1967 and commissioned in 1975. Her most recent deployment was to the Persian Gulf, where 1,300 combat flights were flown from its decks, primarily by F/A-18 Hornet multirole fighters.