GRAND FORKS AFB NCO A "SUICIDE," COPS
SAY - AIRMAN HAD FACED CHILD PORN
CHARGES - FEAR OF PRISON AND LOSS OF
AIR FORCE CAREER MAY HAVE LED MARK
MASSUCCO TO A LONELY DEATH - FORMER
C-130 CREW CHIEF HAD CLEAN RECORD
WAS CLOSE TO RETIREMENT - FEDS SAY
THEY SHOCKED - THOUGHT SUSPECT WOULD
ACCEPT "PLEA BARGAIN" IN SEX CASE

Apparently, it was just too much for Mark Massucco to bear. The veteran NCO, stationed at Grand Forks AFB with the 319th Air Refueling Wing since 2006, took his own life just two weeks before he was scheduled to go into federal court in Fargo, No. Dakota on child porn charges.

Police say they found the Airman's body in his off-base apartment. Investigators are not revealing the exact cause of death, other than to say they feel Massucco killed himself.

The 38 year-old serviceman's life came crashing down around him on June 6th when he was indicted on two counts of receiving material "involving the sexual exploitation of minors." He was also tagged with one count of possessing such material.

If convicted, Massucco could have received five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Close to retirement, and with a previously clean record, the sergeant would also have lost his pension and benefits. For him, the future must have looked very bleak indeed.

"We're shocked," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Hochhalter. "We'd been in negotiations with him, and thought we were making real progress at reaching a plea agreement." Now, the matter is moot, and the feds have already moved to dismiss all charges.

The former C-130 crew chief had been wearing a monitoring device attached to his ankle at the time of his death.

Massucco had initially confessed to possessing the child porn, but later hired two attorneys and contended his "confession" had been coerced out of him by the authorities. Now, we may never know what really happened.