HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Told that her lover had died, the young woman drove for hours to the man's home in Virginia, traveling with her mother and sister to offer condolences.
But the man who answered the door said her friend, Navy Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II, was alive and hardly ailing: He had moved to Connecticut to take command of a U.S. Navy submarine.
"She was very surprised," said Jon Boyle, who bought the house from Ward in Burke, Va.
An investigation by the Navy found that Ward faked his own death to end the eight-month affair, according to documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request. Ward was dismissed as commanding officer of the USS Pittsburgh in August, a week after taking command of the attack submarine.
Investigators found that Ward sent his mistress an email from a fictitious person named Bob in July, posing as a co-worker and saying that Ward had died unexpectedly.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, a spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh's submarine group in Groton, said Ward has received a letter of reprimand for adultery and other military violations. Details of the affair were first reported by The Day of New London.
Ward, a 43-year-old Buffalo native, is assigned to a submarine group in Groton. He has not responded to requests for comment.
According to investigators who interviewed the mistress, she traveled to Ward's former home with her relatives. Boyle, the new owner, recounted that the woman said they had driven 3 1/2 hours from Chesapeake, Va., to pay their respects.
"They said they wanted to offer their condolences. I said, 'I don't think he's dead,'" Boyle said.
Ward, who had been working at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, met the woman through an online dating service in October and used an alias to communicate with her by email, the investigation report said. The married officer visited her during trips to the Norfolk, Va., area for training and they spent a weekend together in Williamsburg, Va., in November. The woman was not named.
After moving to Connecticut, Ward learned that his mistress was pregnant. In late July, he met with her in Washington to discuss how to handle the pregnancy. Soon afterward the woman lost the baby because of complications, the investigation report said.
Investigators said the relationship ended in late July, but Ward stayed in touch with the woman by phone and email to "manage the particulars of the relationship" even after taking command of the submarine.
The documents don't indicate whether the woman knew Ward was married.
"Commander Ward's dishonesty and deception in developing, maintaining, and attempting to end his inappropriate relationship … were egregious and are not consistent with our Navy's expectations of a commissioned officer," wrote Navy Capt. Vernon Parks, commander of a submarine development squadron.
Cragg said the investigation began when a relative of Ward's mistress contacted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Craig reported that Ward was found guilty of Uniform Code of Military Justice violations on Sept. 5, including dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct and adultery, and received the punitive letter of reprimand.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, a Democrat whose eastern Connecticut district includes the submarine base, said it is a sad situation.
"The Navy doesn't kid around with its leadership," he said. "These positions, to command submarines, are very competitive and I think the Navy is right to hold people to the highest standard."
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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