KABUL - The discovery of the body of a second U.S. sailor who vanished in Afghanistan last week only deepened the mystery of the men’s disappearance nearly 60 miles from their base in a dangerous area controlled by the Taliban.
An investigation is under way, but with both sailors dead, U.S. authorities remained at a loss Thursday to explain what two junior enlisted men in noncombat jobs were doing driving alone in Logar province, where much of the countryside is not under government control.
“This is like a puzzle,” said Abdul Wali, deputy head of the governing council in Logar.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley – father of two boys ages 5 and 9 – from Kingman, Ariz., and Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, 25, from the Seattle area, disappeared in the province July 23. McNeley’s body was recovered there Sunday and Newlove’s body was pulled from a river Wednesday evening, Afghan officials said.
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A U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case, confirmed Thursday that Newlove’s relatives had been notified of his death.
At the Newlove’s house in West Seattle, where children’s chalk drawings adorned the sidewalk, a sign on the door said: “The family has no comment. Please respect our privacy.”
Officials at the NATO-led coalition headquarters in Kabul have not offered an explanation as to why the two service members were driving a heavily armored vehicle so far from their base, a training facility on the western edge of the city.