Upper St. Clair man facing obstruction of justice charges found dead

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A former federal energy official charged last fall with obstruction of justice was found dead Wednesday in a conservation area in Upper St. Clair.

A representative from the Allegheny County medical examiner's office said the cause and manner of death for Anthony Cugini, 54, of Upper St. Clair, are pending lab tests.

Upper St. Clair police Chief Doug Burkholder said the death is being investigated as a possible accident.

"It appears he fell on his face," he said, noting there was blood on his face and no apparent signs of a crime.

Mr. Cugini was found Wednesday morning lying in the wetlands area of the Wingfield Pines Conservation Area, an 80-acre park on Mayview Road, where he was pronounced dead, according to the medical examiner's office.

His wife had reported him missing late Tuesday, telling township police that he might be at the park, where they would take walks.

The chief said a dog from the Cecil police department began the search overnight, and officers combed the area Wednesday morning.

Mr. Cugini was wearing clothes appropriate to go walking in the park, Chief Burkholder said.

Mr. Cugini led the National Energy Technology Laboratory in South Park until his resignation in late October.

A federal grand jury indicted him a month later, accusing him of telling others to alter computer files and provide false answers to investigators' questions. He pleaded not guilty in December.

The investigation continues.

Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944. First Published January 9, 2014 3:13 PM

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