An unexpected twist has been revealed in the case surrounding the tragic death of former President Obama’s personal chef, Tafari Campbell, who was found drowned in a pond on the Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard property.
Contradicting initial assumptions that Campbell may have drowned due to an inability to swim, internet sleuths have uncovered a 2019 video revealing Campbell undertaking swimming lessons.
Campbell, 45, of Dumfries, Virginia, was recovered from the Edgartown Great Road by Massachusetts State Police divers on Monday.
Tafari Campbell (Source: @cheftafari/Instagram)
The recovery occurred approximately 100 feet from the shoreline at a depth of about eight feet. The Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers using side-scan sonar first located the victim’s body, according to a news release from Massachusetts State Police.
According to reports, an unnamed paddleboarder saw the 45-year-old struggle to stay afloat on the surface before he drowned.
Police confirmed Campbell was visiting Martha’s Vineyard and was employed by the Obamas at the time of his death. The Obamas were not present at the residence when the incident occurred.
In a statement issued to CNN, the Obamas expressed their sorrow, describing Campbell as a “beloved part of our family.”
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
Campbell’s older Instagram account has revealed some surprising new details about the case.
A photo posted in 2017 showed Campbell with his wife, Sherise Campbell, at Baby Beach in San Nicolas, Aruba, with hashtags such as #wemadesomeprogress and #stillcantswim, suggesting that at the time, he was not a good swimmer.
Tafari Cambell with wife Sherise Campbell (Source: @thymeless_creations/Instagram)
However, by 2019, it appears Campbell had made efforts to overcome this challenge. Video posts from that year, recorded at Onelife Fitness in Woodbridge, Virginia, show Campbell in the midst of swimming lessons.
In one clip, Campbell was seen performing a freestyle into a backstroke with arms.
Tafari Campbell doing flutter kick (Source: Tafari Cambell/Instagram) Tafari Campbell doing freestyle into backstroke with arms (Source: Instagram)
He also shared statistics from his swimming sessions, documenting substantial progress over time. One post showed Campbell completing a mix of 25 yards, backstroke of 100 yards, and freestyle of 200 yards in 34 minutes. In another instance, he completed a breaststroke of 25 yards, backstroke of 100 yards, and freestyle of 175 yards in 37 minutes.
Four years later, we remain uncertain about his current proficiency level.
This discovery has heightened the mystery surrounding his death, as it provides evidence that Campbell was capable of swimming, raising questions about what could have led to this tragic incident.
The cause of Campbell’s fatal accident remains unclear. The State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District and Edgartown Police continue their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Campbell’s untimely passing.