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Fri, Feb 11, 2005

Civil Air Patrol Cadet Found Dead In Florida

Was On Outing With Pennsylvania Wing 

A Civil Air Patrol cadet from the Pennsylvania Wing was found dead Thursday in Osceola County, FL. The cadet has been identified as Rebecca Marseglia, 16, of Levittown, PA. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Marseglia had come to Florida last week with other Pennsylvania Wing cadets for a trip to Walt Disney World and Cape Canaveral. She reportedly left her group without explanation on Monday afternoon, prompting a search by local law enforcement and CAP members from both the Pennsylvania and Florida wings. Marseglia’s father also traveled to Florida to take part in the search.

Col. Matt Sharkey, commander of the CAP Southeast Region, was notified Thursday that the body of a female matching the cadet’s description had been found in a wooded area near the hotel where the CAP group was staying. According to Sharkey, the medical examiner’s office in Osceola County is now in the process of determining the cause of death.

"One of the worst things that can happen to anyone who works with young people is to know that any kind of harm has come to one of them," said Col. Al Applebaum, Pennsylvania Wing commander. "All of us in the Pennsylvania Wing are mourning the loss of Becky Marseglia."

Applebaum said the cadet group had raised money to fund their trip, which was considered a reward for their hard work in CAP throughout the previous year. The group had flown by commercial air to the Orlando area and returned to Pennsylvania on Monday, Feb. 7. Marseglia disappeared on the same day.

Pennsylvania Wing members remained in Florida to help look for Marseglia, along with CAP’s Florida Wing and members of local law enforcement.

"There were many other volunteer activities these cadets could have been involved with," Applebaum said. "Yet they all decided to spend their free time in CAP’s cadet program, learning the leadership and teamwork skills that would serve them well in the future. It’s a tragedy to have lost a cadet who was working so hard to define and progress towards her life goals."

Marseglia was a member of a CAP unit based in Bristol, PA, near Philadelphia. The unit included seven senior members and 32 cadet members. Marseglia had been a cadet since July 2002.

FMI: www.cap.gov

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