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Navy commander killed in Orange Park hotel

44-year-old found dead in hotel room earlier this month

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Police are investigating the killing of a U.S. Navy commander who was found dead in a Orange Park hotel room earlier this month.

An employee of the Astoria Hotel at 150 Park Avenue found the body about 8:45 a.m. Feb. 12.

Orange Park police confirmed Wednesday the victim was of 44-year-old Alphonso Doss and that his death was a homicide. They have asked Channel 4 not to release the cause of death.

Doss, who lived in Pensacola, was on temporary duty at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Doss and his wife were separated at the time of his death, and their Southside home was placed in foreclosure last year.

"He was a very outgoing guy," said Chris Baxter, a friend. "He was really nice. He was always worried about other people."

Baxter said Doss was about to retire.

"I think he just wanted to spend more time with his daughter and to get some more alone time," Baxter said. "All my condolences go out to his family, and I'm sure it's really tough for them right now, especially his daughter."

According to Doss' hometown newspaper in Bolivar, Miss, he entered the Navy after high school, but was commissioned a naval officer in 1996 after graduating from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of North Florida. He was promoted to commander in a ceremony at NAS Jacksonville two years ago.

Doss participated in two secret counter-drug missions in the Caribbean and South America in the late 1990s.  In 2006, Doss was assigned to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he assisted in conducting assessments of suspected enemy-combatants to determine whether the detainees should be released, transferred to another facility or be recommended for continued detention at Guantanamo Bay.

It was during this tour that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitted to Doss' team that he was one of the masterminds behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"Detectives from the Orange Park Police Department and Clay Sheriff's Office are aggressively following up leads in this ongoing investigation," according to a release from the Orange Park Police Department.

Doss was buried at the Jacksonville National Cemetery with full honors in what was described as a "huge" memorial event.

Anyone with any information about Doss' death is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.