A 21-year-old Marine recently died while serving as a security guard at the U.S. embassy in Nigeria, not long after proposing to his fiancée.
The death of Cpl. Elwin Ramirez is now being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, according to an announcement by the Marine Security Guard, which provides security to American diplomatic missions around the world.
Ramirez was due to be discharged in a matter of months. He had recently proposed to his fiancée and planned to start a life with her in San Diego after leaving the service, his brother told the Lodi News-Sentinel.
The infantry Marine was from Lodi, California and died on Dec. 17, according to a GoFundMe campaign by his family, which also revealed his age.
NCIS is “conducting a thorough investigation … as we do in response to any non-combat, medically unattended deaths of Department of the Navy service members,” NCIS spokesperson Jeff Houston told Marine Corps Times.
“Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS will not comment further while the investigation continues.”
Ramirez had “excelled at MSG School,” according to the announcement, and was on his second post after previously being posted with Detachment Valletta in Malta. His service had also taken him to Italy, Japan and Saudi Arabia, according to the GoFundMe.
Shortly before Ramirez’s death, he asked his brother, Edison, “what a good email was for me,” he told the News-Sentinel.
“I asked why, and he said in case something happens to him,” Edison Ramirez said. “Then I never heard from him again.”
Edison Ramirez, who hopes to join the California Highway Patrol or Federal Bureau of Investigation, said his brother was “committed” to the Marines and “a great role model.”
Ramirez’s body was transferred to the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Thursday, Marine Corps Times reported.