California woman's parents seek answers from Navy in death

Photos of Danyelle Luckey shared on social media.


By RICK HURD | East Bay Times (Tribune News Service) | Published: October 24, 2016

PITTSBURG, Calif. — Two broken-hearted parents want answers from the U.S. Navy after their 23-year-old daughter died while stationed in Japan.

Danyelle Luckey, a 2011 graduate of Pittsburg High School died earlier this month, her parents said. Derrick Luckey and his wife, Annette, don’t know when exactly, and that’s just one of several questions they say the Navy hasn’t answered.

They also know Danyelle was stationed on the USS Ronald Reagan when it happened and that she’d been feeling sick during the first week of early October. A Navy representative informed them at 9:05 a.m. Oct. 10 that Danyelle had died of cardiac arrest.

“Yeah, I’m angry, yeah I’m hurt,” Derrick Luckey said Sunday. “I trusted the United States Navy with my daughter. She didn’t die on the battlefield. So what happened here?”

“We just want some answers,” Annette said. “People just don’t have cardiac arrest for no reason at all. We just want to know what happened.”

The Navy is conducting an autopsy, the Luckeys said, but it won’t be completed for another 10 weeks. Attempts to reach the U.S. Navy on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Danyelle Luckey exchanged text messages with her mother through the first week of October, and mentioned she wasn’t feeling well.

“She said it felt like she had a cold or a flu, that she couldn’t keep anything down,” Annette said. “She was upset because they told her she had seasickness, but she told them no. She knew her body.”

A day or so later, she said, the texts stopped.

“You know, did a doctor see her? Were they keeping an eye on her?” she said. “What was going on that whole time? We need to know that for our own sake.”

Danyelle became the first member of the Luckey family to join the military. She cared primarily about “helping other people find themselves, you know people who struggle with self-esteem,” Annette said. “She was all about helping people and was trying to find her way. I was a bit shocked that she joined the Navy, but she was determined to make a positive difference in the world. It was the biggest thing anyone in our family had ever done.”

The community held a candlelight vigil for Danyelle last week, and more than 150 people attended. She’ll be buried with full military honors on Wednesday.


©2016 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

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