Iraq Refuses To Release Body Of Oklahoma Man

Tuesday, June 19th 2012, 2:08 pm

By: News On 6

An Oklahoma family said Tuesday they were fighting on the home front to have their loved one's body returned from Iraq.

Michael David Copeland was an aircraft mechanic for DynaCorp International.

Copeland died in Iraq on June 9. He'd been working for the company at a compound near Baghdad's airport for a week when he died.

The State Department has told the family that Iraqi leaders believe Copeland died of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), but the Copeland family said that is not possible.

They said the Center for Disease Control said no person has died from SARS since 2003. Plus, they said Copeland showed no signs of the disease.

"Not only are we having to deal with the loss, but we're having to deal with the battle to get him back home," said Angela Copeland, his wife.

His parents said they've been told his body will remain in Iraq until an autopsy and an investigation into his death can be done.

"He was a good man and we loved him...and we don't feel like he's being treated fairly," said Copeland's father, Mike.

Copeland's family is now asking Oklahoma lawmakers, including Governor Fallin for help.

Another Oklahoma state lawmaker has joined the family in calling on the governor and Oklahoma's congressional delegation to urge Iraq to release the body of an Oklahoma veteran.

State Representative Dustin Roberts wants pressure put on the Iraqi government to get Copeland's body back to the US.

"It has now been 10 days and they still refuse to release his body so his family can give him a proper burial. Michael David Copeland was a man who served our nation as a Marine and our state as a National Guardsman, and his family deserves better than this. I am asking Governor Fallin and our U.S. Congressman and Senators to look into this matter and help this family get answers," said Dustin Roberts.


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