Second Paddle-Boarder in Case of Dead Obama Chef Confirmed as Another Staff Member: Report

In the News

The identity of a second paddle-boarder with former President Barack Obama’s chef when he drowned at Martha’s Vineyard has been partially revealed.

The U.K. Daily Mail reported Monday, “A female staff member of Barack Obama had been with chef Tafari Campbell when he tragically drowned while paddle-boarding in a pond beside the former president’s estate” on July 23.

“The woman, who was on a separate paddle board, had tried in vain to reach Campbell after he had fallen off but was ultimately forced to return to shore to summon help,” the news outlet added.

Secret Service agents phoned emergency services at 7:46 p.m. that Sunday evening from the Obama compound in Edgartown, sources told the Daily Mail.

The witness was reportedly “lucid and clear exhibiting no signs of intoxication.”


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The Massachusetts State Police said in a July 23 news release that Campbell, “who had gone into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged and did not resurface.”

The police call log that night was left blank.

According to the Daily Mail, Edgartown police chief Bruce McNamee speculated that the reason for the call might have been left off because the caller didn’t call 911, but directly called a business line.

The incident happened at Edgartown’s Great Pond, which is an 890-acre coastal pond connected to the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Great Pond Foundation.

The Obamas’ $12 million home borders the pond with a private beach.

The 45-year-old Campbell’s body was finally located around 10 a.m.  July 24 about 100 feet from shore in eight feet of water.

There were no external trauma injuries apparent and the results of a toxicology test have not been announced.


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The Daily Mail noted that Campbell knew how to swim, based on a video he posted on social media of himself swimming laps.

The news outlet highlighted that more than a week after the accident authorities have not released the names of nearly anyone involved.

There was speculation online that perhaps former President Obama had been with Campbell when he drowned.

The Daily Mail reported that all the members of the Obama family — Barack, former first lady Michelle Obama and the couple’s daughters Sasha and Malia — were away from the estate when the accident happened.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book “We Hold These Truths” and screenwriter of the political documentary “I Want Your Money.”


Harrisburg, Pennsylvania




Graduated dean’s list from West Point


United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law

Books Written

We Hold These Truths

Professional Memberships

Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars


Phoenix, Arizona

Languages Spoken


Topics of Expertise

Politics, Entertainment, Faith