Officials with the State Department say a man with local ties died in Yemen, but they are releasing few details.
John Hamen's wife and a friend said he died last week while detained in the war-torn area.
"We can confirm that U.S. citizen John Hamen died in Yemen. We express our deepest condolences to his family and friends," wrote State Department spokesman William Cocks in an email to FOX19 NOW. "State Department officials provided all possible consular assistance to the family. Out of respect for the privacy of Mr. Hamen's family, we do not have any additional details to provide."
Hamen was a decorated Army veteran who graduated from Lakota High School in 1990, according to his lifelong friend, Michael Bruns. The two men were born months apart when their parents were neighbors in Sharonville and stayed in touch over the years, Bruns said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Hamen lived in Chesapeake, Virginia, with his wife and 7 children.
State Senator Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) today issued the following statement on the passing of U.S. Army veteran John Hamen who died while detained in Yemen:
"I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of John Hamen, especially his wife and seven children. This Veterans Day, let us extend our sincere gratitude and respect for John by honoring the sense of duty he displayed throughout his military and civilian careers. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time," said State Senator Bill Coley, from Liberty Township.
A Facebook message his wife posted Saturday reads:
"On October 20th John was detained in Yemen while working as a contractor. Many of you probably did not know about this due to this being a privacy concern with officials in the government when it happened. Yesterday around 5:30 pm a few people from different agencies came to our home to notify us that John had died while in detainment and then was taken to a hospital. His body will arrive in Dover in less than 48 hours. I plan to post any further details here.
"I am sorry that I was not able to call many of his friends, but his phone and laptop were with him when he was detained and I do not have any of his contacts other than FB.
"Our family is heartbroken right now, I have lost the love of my life, my best friend, and my 7 kids have lost the best dad ever! -Jen Hamen"
John Hamen will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors, according to Bruns.
"With Veteran's Day coming up, it's a good reminder of those who give their lives to keep us safe and give the ultimate sacrifice," he wrote.
A GoFundMe account was established and already has raised $12,770 toward the $25,000 goal.