Death of Montco native Christopher Tur still unsolved

20150201-Christopher-Tur
Capt. John Nettleton (right), in charge at the Guantanamo Bay naval station before being reassigned, was having an affair with the wife of Christopher Tur (left), investigators say.

At first glance, the death of Montgomery County native Christopher Tur seems as if it could inspire an episode of the hit television show NCIS.

The civilian contractor was found dead at the U.S. Naval Station on Cuba's Guantánamo Bay three weeks ago. In the days that followed, investigators said they learned that Tur's wife was having an affair with the captain in charge of the base, unnamed U.S. officials said. And the captain was soon relieved of his duties after an admiral lost confidence in his "ability to command."

But the full story of this tragedy is still weeks, if not months, away as the Navy continues its probe.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has released few details so far. The body of the Marine veteran and 1991 North Penn High School graduate was found Jan. 11 in the water near the coastal base's airport. His wife, Lara Tur, had reported him missing the day before.

"It would be counterproductive for me to characterize [the death] at this point," NCIS spokesman Ed Buice told The Inquirer. "We're doing as much as we can to put together the chain of events that led to Mr. Tur being in the water."

Toxicology results are still pending, Buice said.

"There are other leads we want to follow and other people we want to interview," he added.

Last week, the Associated Press quoted unnamed U.S. officials who said agents investigating Tur's death had discovered the affair between Lara Tur and Capt. John R. Nettleton, the naval station's commanding officer.

A Jan. 21 Navy news release stated that the admiral in charge of Guantanamo had lost confidence in Nettleton's ability to command and had temporarily reassigned him. Adultery is against Navy policy.

"Due to an ongoing NCIS investigation, it is not appropriate for the Navy to provide additional details concerning the relief," the statement said.

Public records indicate that Christopher Tur grew up in Hatfield, Montgomery County. Family members in the Philadelphia region, who include two brothers and a sister, have declined to comment on the matter.

"The family is in mourning," said a man who answered the phone at the Souderton home of Tur's sister.

Lara Tur, her mother, and Nettleton did not respond to requests for comment through social media.

Chris and Lara Tur married in 1995 and had two daughters. Following his time in the Marines, Tur worked as a civilian for the Navy Exchange Service Command, which runs retail stores that serve bases around the world.

At Guantánamo Bay, a base that is home to several thousand military and civilian personnel, Tur worked in loss prevention. His wife, also a civilian, is director of the base's Fleet and Family Services Center, which provides counseling and support to sailors and their families. The Turs moved there in 2011.

"Chris was a beloved member of the Guantánamo Bay community and could frequently be found out on his boat, at the beach, hosting a barbecue, watching football, singing karaoke, golfing or spending time with his wife and daughters," his obituary in a base newsletter, the Gazette, said.

"To his wife Lara, he was a loving and dedicated husband. He was her partner in crime, her sounding board, her karaoke partner and most importantly her best friend. Throughout his nearly 20 years of marriage, his love never wavered."

 


bfinley@phillynews.com

610-313-8118 @Ben_Finley