Police and Coast Guard investigators in Alaska are probing the death of a petty officer after his body was discovered in his Valdez residence on Saturday.
Assigned to the cutter Chandeleur, Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Frankie Lopez, 23, was declared dead by Valdez police late Saturday evening.
His body is being transported from the Prince William Sound port to Anchorage for an autopsy, Coast Guard spokeswoman Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Ali Blackburn told Navy Times on Monday.
Lopez’s next of kin has been notified, she added.
Authorities have declined to speculate on the cause of death, indicating only that Valdez Police Department and Coast Guard officials continue the investigation.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our shipmate,” said Lt. Timothy Cassel, the commanding officer of the cutter Chandeleur, in a prepared statement emailed to Navy Times.
“Our hearts go out to Frankie’s family, loved ones and friends during this difficult time. We are working to provide the proper counseling and support to our shipmates and family members of the deceased.”
Homeported in Valdez, the Island-class patrol boat Chandeleur typically is crewed by two officers and 14 enlisted personnel, according to the Coast Guard.
“We extend condolences to the family, above all else,” said spokeswoman Blackburn in Kodiak. “That’s the biggest takeaway.”