Newly Released Police Records: Secret Service Reported Obama’s Personal Chef ‘Missing,’ Body Found Using Sonar


Judicial Watch has obtained 18 pages of documents from the Edgarton, MA, Police Department under the Massachusetts Public Records Law that indicate the Secret Service had reported the disappearance of Tafari Campbell, who served as President Obama’s personal chef, before his body was later located near Martha’s Vineyard with the help of sonar technology.

The records reveal that Campbell’s clothing was found apart from the body, and a life vest was not in use. Several other key details about the drowning incident, which occurred on July 23, 2023, in Martha’s Vineyard, were redacted.

The documents made public also contain a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) incident report dated July 23:

Secret Service Agent [redacted] adv swimmers unable to locate the party at this time. Party last scene [sic] wearing all black, on a paddle board, African American male.

Rev’vd a 911 call from the above noted RP [reporting person] who identified as a Secret Service member. RP is req [requesting] at least an ambulance response, unsure of the exact services needed.

RP advd best access is from the residence, they are deploying a rescue swimmer and a zodiac boat right now.

RP adv no lifevest was worn, they have recovered the paddle board and clothing. Still no contact with missing party. They still have a boat and rescue swimmers in the area. 

A Secret Service Agent [redacted] noted that swimmers were unable to find the individual at that moment. The missing party was last seen dressed in all black, on a paddleboard, and is an African American male.

A 911 call was received from a reporting person (RP) who identified as a member of the Secret Service. The RP requested an ambulance but was uncertain about the other services required. The RP also indicated that the best point of entry was from a nearby residence and that both a rescue swimmer and a zodiac boat were being dispatched.

No life vest was worn, and while the paddleboard and clothing have been recovered, there was still no contact with the missing individual. At the time, rescue swimmers and a boat remained in the area.

The documents note that at 8:25 p.m., the Oak Bluffs Fire Department deployed a dive team. By 8:36 p.m., both a Coast Guard and a state police helicopter were in the air.

Police Chief Bruce McNamee, who sent the reports, mentioned in his accompanying email that the names of a witness and a Secret Service agent had been redacted as per the request of the Massachusetts State Police.

The base for search operations was set up at Wilson’s Landing, a commonly used boat launch. Dive and search teams from Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury were involved in the search efforts.

The following day, Sgt. William Bishop stated:

Once on location [Wilson’s Landing] we established a command post. I requested through MSP a search helicopter, and Chief Schaeffer requested a USCG helicopter as well. Search & Dive teams from Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, West Tisbury responded via mutual aid. An extensive search began for several hours. A last known location was established, and Trooper Shaw of MSP also assisted with operations. 

I instructed Officer Guest and Officer Dacey to commence a shoreline search effort starting from the closest house and working outward. Both Officers checked every house with waterfront access in the search area. Unfortunately, the search did not yield and results. 

Both air wings conducted a search until their fuel supply forced a return to base.

At or about 11PM the dive and land search was suspended. Edgartown and Oak Bluffs Fire planned to continue a grid search by boat for the remainder of the night. At first light, dive team operations will continue. During the duration of this incident the entrance to Wilson’s Landing was closed as to give responders room to work.

The next morning the dive team search continued, and a deceased Mr. Campbell was located using sonar. The investigation will now be handled by Massachusetts State Police and The Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office. No further action. 

“It is concerning that Judicial Watch had to push and push for information on this tragic death, such as the new revelation that the Obama’s Secret Service protection reported Mr. Campbell missing,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton remarked.


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