BAGHDAD (AP) — The body of an American contractor who was found dead in Baghdad is being flown back to the U.S. after a two-week bureaucratic debate over whether the Iraqi government would perform an autopsy on his remains.
Officials say Michael David Copeland, 37, is one of the first Americans working for the U.S. government to die in Iraq this year. There is no foul play suspected in his death.
Copeland’s case is a snapshot of the new reality of working in Iraq for Americans who, over the years, were accustomed to vast privileges and influence that disappeared when the U.S. troops left last December.
Iraq agreed to release the remains of the Oklahoma man after negotiations with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. His body was flown out of Iraq this afternoon.
Copeland’s wife and parents live in the Colbert area and have been vocal in their attempts to reach a resolution in the odd case. Last week, Colbert United Methodist Church hosted a vigil for the family, attended by more than 60 supporters of the Copelands.
The family contacted numerous federal officials, and eventually the case was handed to the U.S. Consulate late last week. Copeland’s funeral arrangements are pending with Brown’s Funeral Service of Durant.