Iraq Releases US Body of Contractor after Dispute

Jun 26, 2012

BAGHDAD (AP) — The body of an American contractor who was found dead in Baghdad is being flown back to the U.S. after a two-week bureaucratic debate over whether the Iraqi government would perform an autopsy on his remains.

Officials say Michael David Copeland, 37, is one of the first Americans working for the U.S. government to die in Iraq this year. There is no foul play suspected in his death.

Copeland's case is a snapshot of the new reality of working in Iraq for Americans who, over the years, were accustomed to vast privileges and influence that disappeared when the U.S. troops left last December.

Iraq agreed to release the remains of the Oklahoma man after negotiations with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. His body was flown out of Iraq Tuesday afternoon.