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A 22-year-old American soldier died in Bolzano, Italy, on Feb. 15, according to Italian media reports.

A brief news release from the Southern European Task Force said a soldier not assigned to an Italy-based unit had died near Bolzano, about about 60 miles north of Vicenza. The Army did not release the soldier’s identity.

But a city official from Bolzano identified the American as Matthew Jernigan, originally from South Carolina. A local autopsy listed the cause of death as hypothermia, she said.

A report by Italian newspaper Alto Adige said that Jernigan had married a local Italian on Dec. 13. The two reportedly had met in London in 2007. Jernigan had a valid Italian residency permit, the official said.

The two argued on the night of Feb. 14 and Jernigan left the house, according to reports by Alto Adige and another Italian news agency, Virgilio Notizie.

His body was discovered the next morning on the banks of a river, near the city center. Police found two empty liquor bottles near his body and one of his shoes in the river. They determined that he had fallen into the water and had managed to pull himself back up on the river bank. Temperatures during the night ranged between 14 and 19 degrees Fahrenheit.

Italian authorities and the U.S. military were still investigating the death, according to the SETAF release.


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