City issues statement on employee who died in Costa Rica

Trevor T. Trujillo, Oil City

The City of Casper has issued a statement regarding the death of one of its employees, during a swimming incident in Costa Rica.

Police in Costa Rica say the U.S. couple died in an accident at a waterfall known as Belen de Nosarita.

The couple was identified as 48-year-old Darren Mizokami and his 41-year-old wife Kimberly Mizokami. The City of Casper confirms that Darren Mizokami was a city employee.

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Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Organization said Thursday that Darren Mizokami was swimming when he began to have trouble staying afloat. Kimberly reportedly dove in to help him.

A third U.S. tourist at the scene went to get help, but when she returned both were dead in the water.

Their bodies were recovered Wednesday.

The City of Casper statement said that Darren Mizokami was a long-time employee who served in a variety of positions over the last several years.

A full copy of the City of Casper Statement follows:

Yesterday, September 19, 2018, one of our long-time employees, Darren Mizokami and his wife Kim, passed away in an accident while on vacation in Costa Rica. “Darren was an integral part of our organization” said City Manager Carter Napier. Darren served the community for 25 years (today was his 25th service anniversary) in various capacities. His career began in 1991 as a seasonal part-time municipal worker in the Parks Division until 1993 when he was promoted to a full-time equipment operator in the Refuse Collection Division. Darren’s trajectory within the city continued upwards as he was promoted to an equipment operator II in Refuse Collection in 1996, a utility supervisor I in the Water Distribution Division in 2001 and a utility supervisor II in the Meter Services Division in 2012. Darren also was an interim supervisor for Municipal Court while the permanent supervisor was out on medical leave.

Darren’s experience in multiple divisions made him very effective for the city, which benefitted the residents as well. However, it was his positive attitude and commitment to his duties, even during difficult situations, that helped him excel and lift up those around him. Napier remembers Darren as, “always having a smile and cheery greeting.” He continued “Darren was a bright spot in our lives. He will be sorely missed by me, the organization and those who knew him. We extend our deepest condolences to Darren’s family.”

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