US Soldier From Georgia Mysteriously Dies During Belarus Vacation

July 7, 2017 Updated: July 7, 2017

A Georgia Army National Guard mysteriously died during a family vacation in Europe; relatives said they have been kept in the dark about how it happened.

Maj. Kyle Tafel, 36, was visiting his two aunts in Belarus last month. One of them was in the country for a weightlifting competition.  

“He was there to support her and in a way, I think to try to protect them, he knew it was a rough neighborhood,” Kevin Tafel, Kyle’s father, told Fox 5.

On one of the last nights of his trip, Kyle got into some kind of argument at a Belarus casino; security brought Kyle back to the suite he shared with his aunts reported Fox 5.

“He told his aunts ‘They were out for blood.’ Out of fear, they barricaded the door so nobody could get in or out,’ Kevin Tafel told Fox 5.

Three hours later, local police woke up Kyle’s aunts to inform them that he was found dead on the sidewalk outside the hotel, according to Fox 5.

“My sisters were extremely upset. They were freaking out,” Kevin Tafel told The Atlanta Journal-Consitution. “They couldn’t find out how he was out of [his room].”

“I have not asked any questions, I have not received any answers. All the answers in the world are not going to bring Kyle back,” Kevin Tafel told Fox 5.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is investigating Tafel’s death, according to National Guard spokeswoman Desiree Bamba.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command Badge
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command Badge

Kyle served the Georgia Army National Guard for 17 years and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Georgia in 2004. He was born in Peachtree, Georgia, according to his Facebook page.   

Tafel’s body returned to the United States on Wednesday, July 5. His funeral was scheduled for Friday, 12:30 p.m. in Canton, Georgia; Kyle was buried in the Georgia National Cemetery.

“He was fun-loving, very generous son,” Kevin Tafel told The Atlanta Journal-Consitution. “Great son, great soldier.”

Kyle posing in combat gear (Facebook/Kyle Tafel)
Kyle posing in combat gear (Facebook/Kyle Tafel)