WASHINGTON — The body of the former White House sous chef who worked for ex-President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle was recovered Monday in the waters near their Martha’s Vineyard estate, Massachusetts police said.
Tafari Campbell, 43, known as one of the chefs who brewed White House honey ale beer while Obama was in office — using honey from Michelle Obama’s famous South Lawn garden — went to work for the former first couple when they left the White House.
In a statement, the Obamas said of one of the top chefs in the White House kitchen: “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.
“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.
Today we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari — especially his wife Sherise and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin — in grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man.”
The Obama’s have been spending part of the summer in Martha’s Vineyard for years.
Authorities started searching the waters near the Obama home after receiving reports of a missing paddle boarder on Sunday.
Campbell’s body was found shortly after 10 a.m., recovered from the Edgartown Great Pond by Massachusetts State Police divers.
The divers made the recovery after the Campbell’s body was located by Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers “deploying side-scan sonar from a boat.”
Police also said Campbell was found “approximately 100 feet from shore at a depth of about eight feet.
“The investigation into the fatality is being conducted by the State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District and Edgartown Police.”
The search started7:46 p.m. on Sunday when Martha’s Vineyard police and fire agencies responded to a call for”for a male paddle boarder who had gone into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged and did not resurface. …Another paddle boarder was on the pond with him at the time and observed him go under the water.”
Multiple agencies assisted in the search and recovery, including, the state police said in a statement, “Edgartown Fire and all other island fire departments; local police; State Police patrols, Air Wing, and detectives, the Dukes County Sheriff’s Department, and the Coast Guard.”