- Feb 8, 2007
- Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
All I have to say is this is not good...
Canadian soldier found dead on base in Afghanistan
Ottawa-based Maj. Michelle Mendes is 3rd Canadian woman to die since mission began
Last Updated: Friday, April 24, 2009 | 12:17 PM ET Comments148Recommend251
Maj. Michelle Mendes, 30, was found dead on Thursday afternoon. (DND)
An investigation has been launched into the death of a Canadian soldier whose body was found in her room at Kandahar Airfield.
Maj. Michelle Mendes, 30, of Wicklow, Ont., east of Toronto, was found dead on Thursday afternoon, officials said on Friday.
Mendes, the third female solider to die in Afghanistan, was based in Ottawa with Defence Intelligence and was a member of Task Force Kandahar headquarters.
Enemy action has been ruled out as the cause of death, said public affairs officer Maj. Mario Couture.
"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of our lost comrade. Our primary focus at this time is to provide the best possible support to the family of our soldier and to her colleagues," Couture said.
The military was not releasing further details.
MacKay commends soldier's 'hard work and dedication'
Defence Minister Peter MacKay issued a statement on Friday offering condolences to Mendes's family.
"Her hard work and dedication will not be forgotten," he said.
The number of Canadian soldiers who have died since the Afghan mission began seven years ago has now risen to 118. One diplomat and two aid workers have also been killed.
Mendes's death marks the first Canadian loss of life since April 13 when Trooper Karine Blais, 21, was killed by a roadside bomb north of the city of Kandahar. Blais's funeral was scheduled to be held Friday in Les Méchins, Que.
The Mendes family has not yet commented on the death.
The military said the family would like privacy and is expected to release a statement in the coming days.
According to published reports, Mendes, a graduate of Kingston's Royal Military College, had previously toured in Afghanistan and was among 11 soldiers who were returned to Canada for treatment in September 2006 following a friendly-fire incident that killed one.
In 2006, Mendes's mother, Dianne Knight, told the Colborne Chronicle, which served the community near where she lived, that her daughter wanted "an entire career in the army" and had done intelligence work.
With files from The Canadian Press