The Christmas Day death of a 3rd Infantry Division soldier in Iraq is being looked into by the military, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday.
Sgt. Peter C. Neesley, 28, died in Baghdad on Dec. 25 of “an undetermined cause in a non-combat environment,” according to information provided by the department.
The Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. native was a member of the division’s 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
The circumstances surrounding Neesley’s death are under investigation.
A family member who answered the phone at Neesley’s home Wednesday told Detroit-area press the family was not commenting on the death for the media at this time.
Kim Gerlach, a teacher at Pere Gabriel Richard Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Farms, who met Neesley briefly last month when the soldier’s sister arranged for him to meet with 70 students at the school, described him as “a very nice, honest person.”
“He talked about the good soldiers in Iraq were doing, helping and protecting children over there,” she told The Detroit News. “He showed us pictures of an old shopping mall he stayed at for a while.”
Based on a Dec. 26 DoD casualty report, the number of troop deaths in Iraq now totals 3,896, including 723 non-combat deaths.