A paddleboarder found deat in the water near Barack Obama’s mansion in Martha’s Vineyard has been identified as his personal chef, 45-year-old Tafari Campbell.
Police in Edgartown, Massachusetts, confirmed on Monday morning that the search for a then-unidentified African American man had been called off after a body was recovered from the town’s Great Pond.
Officials later named the man as Tafari Campbell, who had worked for the Obamas at the White House and then afterwards. Police said meither Mr Obama nor his wife Michelle were at home when Campbell died.
“Tafari was a beloeved part of our family,” the Obama family said. “Our hearts are broken that he’s gone… we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari, especially his wife Sherise and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin, in grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man.”
Follow live updates below as this story unfolds.
Obamas mourn ‘a beloved part of our family’
The newspaper identified Campbell as Mr Obama’s personal chef, who had cooked for him at the White House during his time as president and then went on to work for the family afterwards.
“Tafari was a beloved part of our family,” the Obamas said. “When we first met him, he was a talented sous chef at the White House — creative and passionate about food, and its ability to bring people together.
“In the years that followed, we got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter.
“That’s why, when we were getting ready to leave the White House, we asked Tafari to stay with us, and he generously agreed. He’s been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he’s gone.
“Today we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari — especially his wife Sherise and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin — in grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man.”
Io Dodds24 July 2023 23:18
Dead man named as Obama employee from Virginia
Police have named the paddleboarder as Tafari Campbell, 45, an employee of Mr Obama who was visiting Martha’s Vineyard at the time of his death.
In a statement released just now, the state police said Mr Campbell hailed from Dumfries, Virginia, adding that neither Mr Obama nor his wife Michelle were at home when he died.
Io Dodds24 July 2023 23:02
911 call was made from Obama house, report claims
The Daily Mail is claiming that the 911 call that summoned police to the scene was made from Mr Obama’s house.
The British newspaper did not give a source for this information, only saying “it is understood” – a piece of journalistic jargon that usually means that someone with authority has said it off the record.
The The Martha’s Vineyard Times also reported that police were called to Mr Obama’s estate for a “possible drowning”, adding that the man was last seen wearing all black and no life jacket.
We don’t yet know whether any members of the Obama family were actually home at the time.
Lauren Io Dodds24 July 2023 22:57
Body found 100 feet from shore using sonar
Here’s everything the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) have said so far about the case:
“Shortly before 10 AM the body of the missing paddle boarder was recovered from Edgartown Great Pond by Massachusetts State Police divers.
“MSP Underwater Recovery Unit divers made the recovery after the victim’s body was located by a Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers deploying side-scan sonar from a boat.
“As previously noted, the victim is a 43-year-old male. His name is not being released at this time; we expect to release his name later today.
“The recovery was made approximately 100 feet from shore at a depth of about eight feet.
“The investigation into the fatality is being conducted by the State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District and Edgartown Police.”
Io Dodds24 July 2023 22:32
Unnamed paddleboarder found dead in Martha’s Vineyard
Good afternoon. An unnamed paddleboarder has been found dead near former president Barack Obama’s mansion in Martha’s Vineyard.
Police in Edgartown, Massachusetts, confirmed on Monday morning that the search for an unidentified 43-year-old African American man had been called off after a body was recovered from the town’s Great Pond.
We’ll bring you more updates as we get them.
Io Dodds24 July 2023 22:06