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Deceased Paddleboarder Found in Pond Behind Obama's Martha's Vineyard Property Was His Personal Chef

The man found dead in the pond behind former President Barack Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard estate was the former White House sous chef, turned personal chef, for the family.

The remains of Tafari Campbell, 45, were found in the pond on Monday morning after he was reported missing on Sunday evening.

Obama’s $12 million property sits on Edgartown Great Pond, where the deceased and another man were paddle boarding on Sunday evening before Campbell went missing. The witness said that he had seen him struggle and go underwater before disappearing.

In a statement, Michelle and Barack Obama said, “Tafari was a beloved part of our family.”

“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,” the statement continued. “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.”

Campbell went to culinary school in Virginia and owned his own restaurant before applying to work at the White House under the George W. Bush administration. He stayed at the job after Obama took over.

The Daily Mail reports that “During the Obama presidency, Campbell became known for brewing White House honey ale beer, using the honey from Michelle Obama’s South Lawn garden.”

Campbell’s wife Sherise posted an Instagram story with a photo of her husband on Monday and the word, “heartbroken.”

The Massachusetts Environmental Police used sonar technology to locate Campbell’s remains.

“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.,” a spokesperson for Massachusetts State Police said in a statement. “The recovery was made approximately 100 feet from shore at a depth of about eight feet.”

The pond is approximately 890 acres and is regularly used for recreational activities.

Campbell leaves behind a wife and 19-year-old twins.

An investigation into the death is being handled by the State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District and Edgartown Police.

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