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Drowned soldier stationed at Guantanamo prison camp identified

By CAROL ROSENBERG | Miami Herald | Published: March 31, 2017

MIAMI (Tribune News Service) — A soldier on the staff of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, drowned off a beach in a death that is under investigation, the military said Friday.

Army Col. Lisa Garcia, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Southern Command, said it was not immediately known what military entity was handling the investigation into the death of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jose Eduardo Lopez-Cobena, 40, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Lopez-Cobena died Thursday off Cable Beach, a popular swimming spot in “a noncombat alleged drowning incident while deployed in support of detainee operations,” Garcia said.

He was on a one-year tour at the base, working on logistics as part of the 1,650-strong staff assigned to the detention center of 41 captives. He was due to finish his deployment there in early June.

His family has been notified, Garcia said. His home base was the 2nd Infantry Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

Accidental drownings are rare, but do happen, at the remote beach-lined U.S. military base of about 5,500 people. In 2010 three U.S. Marines perished in the waters off Cable Beach on the Fourth of July weekend.

In January 2015 a commissary worker was found dead in waters off the base, an episode that led to the removal of the base commander. The death of Christopher Tur, 42, is still under investigation, with the case file currently being handled by the Department of Justice, Navy spokesman Bill Doughtery said Friday from Jacksonville, the higher headquarters for the U.S. Navy base.

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Waves crash into Cable Beach at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on Oct. 3, 2016.
KEGAN E. KAY/U.S. NAVY

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