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Hugh Marquez, Jr.
Hugh Marquez, Jr.

A 22-year-old U.S. soldier who grew up in American Canyon has died for unknown reasons near his base in Kansas, authorities said.

Army Spec. Hugh Marquez Jr., who was based in Fort Riley, Kansas, had served both in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had returned from Iraq a few months ago, his mother said Thursday. 

According to police in Kansas, the young Marquez was found dead a little after noon Sunday at a friend’s apartment in Manhattan, near Fort Riley, where he had stayed overnight after a party.

An autopsy was performed, but the final results could take weeks, Lt. Herbert Crosby Jr. of the Riley County Police Department said. “At this time, there are no signs of physical injuries,” he said in an e-mail.

His father, Hugh Marquez Sr., flew to Kansas to escort his son’s body home, his mother, Michelle Marquez, said.

The younger Marquez had strong roots in American Canyon, where he grew up. He attended Napa Junction Elementary School and American Canyon Middle School, Michelle Marquez said. He graduated from Liberty High School in 2005 and joined the military two years later.

He enjoyed spending time with his friends and his family, including his brother, Dakota, 13, and his sister Estrella, 11, his mother said from her American Canyon home.

“We are a tight-knit family,” she said.

Hugh Marquez Jr. particularly enjoyed taking part in games at American Canyon Paintball Jungle at the Eucalyptus Grove.  He usually came with his younger brother, Dakota, said Karen Kazman, manager and co-owner of American Paintball Jungle. Their father sometimes joined them.

The other players looked up to him, Kazman said. “He was just a really great big brother,” she said.

Army Sgt. Major Harlan Price, who is helping make the funeral arrangements on behalf of the family, said a special escort will accompany the body home.

In addition, an honor guard will escort the casket from Sacramento to Tulocay Funeral Home in Napa, he said. Visitation will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Price said. Internment will be at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon.

Marquez served in Afghanistan in 2008-2009 and Iraq in 2009-2010, Price said. His medals include the U.S. Army Good Conduct Medal and the U.S. Army Commendation Medal; the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Afghan Campaign Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the NATO medal.

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