Lakota High School grad detained in Yemen has died

Jen Hamen says her husband died last week

CINCINNATI -- A Lakota High School graduate and Army veteran who'd been detained in Yemen since late last month has died, his wife said over the weekend.

John Hamen was a 1990 graduate of Lakota, his childhood friend, Michael Bruns, told WCPO. After graduation, Hamen enlisted in the Army.

"We can confirm that U.S. citizen John Hamen died in Yemen," said Pooja Jhunjhunwala, a spokesperson from the U.S. State Department. "We express our deepest condolences to his family and friends.  State Department officials provided all possible consular assistance to the family.  Out of respect for the privacy of Mr. Hamen’s family, we do not have any additional details to provide."

Hamen had been working as a contractor in Yemen when he was detained Oct. 20, his wife, Jen, posted on his Facebook page.

Jen Hamen said she learned Friday evening that her husband died while in custody.

"I am sorry that I was not able to call many of his friends, but his phone and laptop were with him when he was detained and I do not have any of his contacts other than [Facebook]," Jen Hamen wrote. "Our family is heartbroken right now, I have lost the love of my life, my best friend, and my 7 kids have lost the best dad ever!"

Michael Bruns, Hamen's childhood friend, told WCPO the news had him in shock. "John is someone that I grew up with. John is someone that we played together when we were three, four, five, six, seven. To hear something like that, it just hits you hard," he said.

Hamen's body was expected to be back in Dover, Delaware by Monday, his wife wrote. Hamen resided near Norfolk, Virginia.

Yemen is torn by fighting between a U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition and Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels allied with army units loyal to a former president. The coalition supporting the government began launching airstrikes against the Houthis and their allies on March 26.

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