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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 

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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. 


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."