Diplomatic Security special agent, former Dayton police officer, found dead in Potomac River

Published: Thursday, August 31, 2017 @ 11:52 PM
Updated: Friday, September 01, 2017 @ 12:19 AM

Kurt Smolek was reported missing earlier this week. His body was found in the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. Wednesday. He graduated from the Dayton Police Academy in 1998.

UPDATE @ 12:45 p.m. (Sept. 1):

Shock and sadness is how one former Dayton Police officer who went through the academy with Kurt Smolek described her reaction to news of Smolek’s untimely death.

WATCH: Kettering police video that captured fatal officer-involved shooting 

Julie Swisher, a 10 year veteran of the department who is no longer serving, remembers Kurt well and said the 88th Dayton Police Academy class was planning for a reunion next month.  

Swisher said the bond the recruits have never goes away.

“He was just a real fun loving person. The best thing I remember about him is how much he enjoyed being a father. He was just a great dad, a great friend,” said Swisher.

“He was a good cop, he loves his country, he loves his city, he loved being a police officer, we were all really tight.”

More local headlines here

Smolek left the Dayton Police Department in 2003 and began working for the federal government. 

“He's been traveling all over the country, other countries, he's had some very high positions of authority,” said Swisher, “he's made us proud."

Swisher said Smolek had just been assigned to a new position in August in D.C., in fact another academy classmate, now in the military, was working in a building right next door to Smolek, said Swisher.

“My prayer was maybe Kurt was being Kurt, and he just got in his car and was going to drive to Texas and was going to help people. That's the kind of person he is," said Swisher. “I was hoping that's all it was. Several hours later I got the word that they had pulled his body out of the river in Washington. Very sad. I’m still in shock.”

This newsroom has requested autopsy reports which should determine Kurt Smolek’s cause of death. 

FIRST REPORT:

Kurt Smolek, a Diplomatic Security special agent with the State Department and a former Dayton police officer, was found dead in the Potomac River on Wednesday and the cause is listed as undetermined pending an autopsy. 

We're hearing tonight that Smolek, 45, is a 1998 Dayton police academy graduate and one of his assignments as a special agent was as a member of Condoleezza Rice's security team.  

According to DC Metro police, Smolek was last seen Monday, Aug. 28, in the 600 block of Water Street, Southwest, about 10 p.m. A missing persons bulletin described hims as white with graying brown hair, brown eyes, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 190 pounds. 

This is the Dayton Police Academy 88th academy class. Kurt Smolek is third from the left, wearing the gray sweatshirt. (Contributed)

According to the bulletin, Smolek was last seen wearing a blue oxford shirt, khaki pants and was operating a gray 2011 GMC Terrain SUV with tinted windows bearing Virginia tags XGG6532.  

Diplomatic Security Services of the Department of State is charged with global responsibilities, including the safeguarding of American diplomatic personnel, property and classified information. DSS also has jurisdiction over classified communications, such as secure email and other platforms.  

Thursday, Spero News reported the following statement, attributed to Christian Schurman, deputy assistant secretary of state and assistant director for International Programs: 

 "It is with great sadness that I share with you the news of the death of Diplomatic Security Special Agent Kurt Smolek. Kurt was found deceased today and the DS [Diplomatic Security agency] is working closely with local authorities to investigate the circumstances of his death. Please keep the Smolek family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

3 police officers help man in distress: ‘God puts us ... where he needs us,’ one says

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 8:23 PM

A trio of law-enforcement officers came to the aid of a man stricken earlier this month while dining with his wife.

Providence was evident in a trio of law enforcement officers who came to the aid of a man stricken earlier this month while dining with his wife in Tipp City. 

The man, himself a nurse, became ill Jan. 11 at Hinders Sports Bar & Grill. 

The three officers -- Miami Twp. Detective Dan Wessling, Tipp City Sgt. Marc Basye and West Carrollton Officer Chris Fairchild -- were at a table nearby were at a table nearby for a casual dinner to discuss a trip to Washington, D.C., during National Police Week in May.

They never hesitated when they saw what Bayse said appeared to be a man suffering from a cardiac event. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Arrest ends hours-long Darke County standoff

The man lost consciousness, was sweating heavily and experiencing breathing difficulties, Sgt. Basye said by telephone Monday. He and Fairchild put the man on the floor and began CPR. Wessling cleared a path for paramedics to be able to get to the victim quickly. 

Detective Dan Wessling, Miami Twp. police

They successfully revived the man, who ended up walking out of the establishment with his wife by his side. 

Wessling, a police officer for 12 years, trained Fairchild while working as a feld training officer for West Carrollton police before joining the Miami Twp force. 

"I'm very proud of the great officer he is," Wessling said of Fairchild. 

West Carrollton Police Officer Chris Fairchild

Basye, who has 25 years of law enforcement experience as well as medical training that puts him one step below paramedic, said the nurse recently told him he spent less than two days as a patient in his home hospital in the aftermath of the episode -- which was not a cardiac event -- at Hinders. 

"Whatever the episode was, [we were told] the early implementation of life support probably saved the man's life," Basye said. "God puts us in the places where he needs us."

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Strong storms moving through the Miami Valley

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 4:31 AM
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 9:55 PM

Falling temperatures and the chance for snow through mid-week.

>>WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

UPDATE @ 9:31 p.m.: 

All severe thunderstorm warnings have expired. Still watching a strong line of storms moving through the Miami Valley tonight. Although not severe at the moment, they still can produce heavy rain, gusty winds and hail.

A strong line of storms is moving through the Miami Valley this evening. Heavy rain, lightning, hail and gusty winds are possible. Some storms may reach severe limits with winds gusting as high as 60 mph. Once this line moves east, a few showers may be leftover for the night.

We are getting reports of hail in Clayton, Gratis, and Englewood. 

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Few Showers Around Tonight
  • Windy and Turning Cold
  • Chance Rain to Snow Showers Tomorrow

>>4 tricks to help avoid illness during big temperature changes

DETAILED FORECAST

THIS EVENING/OVERNIGHT:  Cloudy and windy with scattered showers through the evening. Winds may gust as high as 30mph. Chance of a few showers remain through the night, but as temperatures fall some mixing with snow showers may occur by daybreak. Temperatures will fall from the 50s this evening into the upper 30s by morning.

5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

TUESDAY:  Early scattered rain showers mixing with snow showers during the day, then changing to light passing snow showers before ending into the night. No snow accumulation expected. Temperatures will hold in the 30s through most of the day. Another blustery afternoon with winds gusting as high as 35mph. This will create wind chills in the 20s. Winds relax into the night and clouds break a bit with lows in the middle 20s.

>>5-Day Forecast

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, blustery and cold for Wednesday with a few flurries possible. Highs in the middle 30s, but feeling like the 20s.

>>County-by-County Weather

THURSDAY: A pleasant day expected for Thursday with mostly sunny skies and milder temperatures around 40 degrees.

FRIDAY:  Lots of sunshine in the morning will give way to clouds through the day. A mild afternoon with highs around 50 degrees.

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy with the chance for rain showers on Saturday. Breezy and mild with highs around 50 degrees.

Latest: Thunderstorms in region leave more than 4,700 without power

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 10:07 PM
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 10:18 PM

Bellbrook hail

Thunderstorms that boiled up quickly tonight across the region delivered lightning that caused more than 4,700 power outages.

PHOTOS: January thunderstorms in Miami Valley

Dayton Power & Light crews will be working through the night to restore power, said Kelly Millhouse, DP&L operations director.

There also have been several reports of hail. 

At 10:15 p.m., the Dayton Power & Light online outage map was showing the following: 

Miami 1,977

Montgomery 518 

Greene 71

Champaign 3 

Logan 3

Clark and Clinton 1 each

First Energy’s online outage map was showing:

Clark 1,423

Green 21

Champaign 5

Duke Energy's online outage map was reporting: 

Butler 555

Warren 487 

Montgomery 3

Hail has been reported in Tipp City, Monroe Twp., Bellbrook, Englewood, Gratis and Clayton.

Hail in Gratis on Monday night, Jan. 22, 2018. (Courtesy/viewer)

3 arrested in Greenville SWAT standoff that began as firearms investigation

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 6:32 PM
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 9:26 PM

(Courtesy/Clinton J. Randall/for bluebagmedia.com)
(Courtesy/Clinton J. Randall/for bluebagmedia.com)

UPDATE @ 8:55 p.m.: Three males are in custody from the standoff involving a SWAT team that began as an attempt to serve a warrant in a stolen firearms investigation. 

Darke County sheriff's deputies tried to execute a search warrant at the home, in the 300 block of 12th Street, about 4:30 p.m., Clinton J. Randall, with our news partner bluebagmedia.com, reports. 

Four males and two females were in the house and deputies arrested two of the males right away -- one on an undisclosed warrant and the other on a drug charge. Neither arrest apparently has to do with the firearms investigation, according to bluebagmedia.com.

A third male went upstairs and barricaded himself in a bedroom. 

That prompted a callout to a SWAT team, which used flash-bang and other devices before entering the house. Deputies and SWAT members found that third man in one of the bedrooms and arrested him about 7:30 p.m. 

The females were not detained. 

Deputies were continuing to search the house tonight, looking for evidence in the firearms case.

UPDATE @ 7:35 p.m.:

A person has been taken into custody from the SWAT search of a home on 12th Street. 

Police and the special tactics team had been at the residence, in the 300 block, at least 3 hours, a resident tells us. 

We're working to find out more details about today's standoff and arrest.

INITIAL REPORT

There is a standoff occurring at this hour at a house on 12th Street. 

Clinton J. Randall, a reporter affiliated with our news partner in bluebagmedia.com, is on scene and reports that tear gas has been used. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: 2 injured when truck slams into RR trestle

He also said it appears police are about to enter the house.

A resident in the neighborhood tells us police have ordered people to remain in their homes. 

We will update this developing report. Stay with whio.com for breaking news.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.