Kyle Van De Water died Tuesday in what police believe was an apparent suicide. The 41-year-old Army veteran and former New York congressional candidate was found dead in Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. Reports claimed someone had reported a “man down” before police arrived on the scene.
It wasn’t immediately clear what happened to Van De Water, though police did tell reporters that they suspected that he killed himself and were treating the case as a suicide investigation. As of Wednesday morning, the attorney’s official cause of death had not been identified.
Kyle Van De Water was a Republican litigation attorney in Dutchess County. He previously ran against Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado in 2020, though he lost the Congressional seat by more than 40,000 votes. While they were one-time opponents during the 2020 elections, the incumbent representative took to Twitter Tuesday to share his respect for Van De Water.
“May God rest Kyle’s soul,” Delgado wrote in his Twitter post. “And may God bless his family.” Attached was a statement from the Congressman, which claimed Delgado’s “heart breaks for Kyle, and his beautiful family.”
He said that “we shared a number of conversations about family and country, and I walked away from each one knowing that he had a profound love for both. I know he will be immensely missed, and I’m praying for all who loved him – his friends, his fellow soldiers, and family.”
Antonio Delgado explained that “Kyle’s death is tragically felt not only on an individual level but also nationally, as far too many veterans across our country are going without the support and care that their service to our great land undoubtedly necessitates.” He concluded that “we can and must do better. May God rest Kyle’s soul. And may God bless his family.”
Delgado included the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. Veterans in need are urged to call and “press 1” for assistance.
In his bio on his website, Kyle Van De Water explained that he “became an active duty member of the United States Army in 2006,” and was assigned to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He worked as an Administrative Law Attorney at the United States Military Academy at West Point and was eventually deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan. In 2011, Van De Water was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.
The former New York congressional candidate received the Meritorious Service Medal and was honorably discharged from the Army in 2014. According to his bio, “he continued to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves JAG Corps” and holds the rank of Major.
Despite his loss in the 2020 elections, Kyle Van De Water had planned to run in the 2022 midterm elections. He explained in his bid announcement in July that “it would be politically expedient to wait and see how the redistricting process shapes the district, but I am not a politician. I am not doing this for myself, I am doing this for the people of NY-19 (and perhaps some from NY-18 or NY-20 as well).”
Then, less than two weeks before his death, Van De Water dropped out of the race. He announced his withdrawal on Aug. 27, explaining that “unfortunately, circumstances in my life have changed and I am no longer able to give 110% towards this endeavor.”
He admitted that he was “truly humbled by and will be forever grateful for all of the support I have received these past few years. It has been an honor getting to meet so many of you as I traveled across the district.” He added that “for the good of the party, and the district, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy.”
He concluded his announcement, saying that “I look forward to vigorously and enthusiastically supporting the GOP candidate in 2022.” He did not go into further detail regarding why he withdrew from the election.
More than a war hero or a former congressional candidate, Kyle Van De Water was a family man who loved his kids. He constantly shared pictures of them on Twitter and Facebook, showing off their time together. In a recent Twitter post, Van De Water posted pictures of him and his sons at the Grafton Summer Festival. He claimed it was “a great way to spend a Saturday.”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis, call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.