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.

From the Gallery - Memorial page - Obituaries - Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL
Rest in Peace

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

A Warrior's Cry for Help
Just days before his death, the Commander reached out for help. In a voicemail to a close friend, Commander Doss spoke,
“I need somebody who understands, so call me back. I’ve got a question to ask you. Not about you but a situation I’m dealing with, so if I can’t talk to you tonight, give me a holler on another day, but I need your opinion on something.”
During an Orange Park Police press briefing on February 27th, police did not confirm they were investigating the unsolved murder. Nor, did they release any additional details concerning the murder, failing to even comment how Commander Doss was killed.
Could the Commander’s death be related to his work interrogating GITMO detainees? Could his murder be related to the commander’s personal demons? We may never know. 
But one thing is certain, the United States of America lost a brave and decorated warrior on February 12th.
Commander Doss is survived by his wife of 22 years, a daughter, Alexis, his father, Thomas Allen, and 3 brothers.

NAVY COMMANDER ALPHONSO DOSSInvestigators won't say how he died, because of an "ongoing investigation," but one thing we do know. An autopsy reveals Navy CDR Alphonso Doss was murdered.

The 44 year-old officer was discovered slain in his bed at the Astoria Hotel Suites in Orange Park, FL, near the Jacksonville Naval Air Station, back on February 12.

Doss, a key member of the team that interrogated terrorist kingpin Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba had been on temporary duty from the Naval Education and Training Center in Pensacola.


Doss enlisted in the Navy in 1987 and was commissioned an ensign in 1996 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Sources within the Navy at Pensacola describe Doss as a well-liked and mostly-friendly officer who also fought "personal demons."

Ace reporter Jim Schuetter of the Florida TIMES-UNION interviewed Henry Mangini, hotel manager, who said Doss had been living alone at the Astoria Suites the past several months.

"He was a quiet, courteous man who didn't give anyone any trouble," Mangini recalled.


 A decorated Navy commander found slain Feb. 12 in a Clay County hotel room he called home had been living a troubled life, according to three acquaintances and court records.

Orange Park police didn’t reveal they were investigating the still-unsolved slaying of Cmdr. Alphonso Mortimer Doss, 44, for two weeks because there was no pressing need to do so, Police Chief Gary Goble told the Times-Union Thursday morning....

 "Trouble" seemed to follow the career Naval officer.

Alphonso Doss Mugshot | 08/12/12 Florida Arrest DUI -
During a very troubled time.
He was picked up on a DUI in Santa Rosa County, FL in 2012. The following year, his home was foreclosed on, and then his wife of 22 years filed for divorce. Court records showed the couple have one daughter.

His last words are recorded on a voicemail left for a close friend just four days before Alphonso Doss was killed. 

"I need somebody who understands, so call me back," said Doss. Just days before that, he sent a cry for help. "I've got a question to ask you. Not about you but a situation I'm dealing with, so if I can't talk to you tonight, give me a holler on another day, but I need your opinion on something," said Doss. 

Doss' friend shared voicemails with Action News Thursday night. She said she never got the chance to speak with him again. 

"I feel like I just missed that opportunity to see what was going on with him," said the retired Marine Corps captain. 

On Feb. 12, just four days after his last message, Doss' body was found inside his room at the Astoria Hotel in Orange Park. Police have ruled it a homicide. 

"I know that the area he is staying in is a very shady area, and Alphonso is very social, he'll talk to anyone," said the friend. 

Doss was going through turmoil, including a pending separation with his wife and the foreclosure of his family home. 

"He was confronting all of his issues and working it out, going to therapy," she said. 

In August 2012 he was arrested for a DUI and that charge cost him his prestigious military career; he was being forced into early retirement. 

"His military career was a huge part of his identity," said the friend. His identity is somewhat tarnished and now his death is a mystery.

Doss’ recent troubles included a DUI conviction, the foreclosure of his home and the break-up of his marriage, records and acquaintances said. Doss’ family could not be reached to comment.

Court records show that the home Doss, his wife and a daughter lived in off Baymeadows Road near Interstate 295 was lost to foreclosure in December. The records said the action was sought after Doss and his wife failed to pay $1,369 in homeowner’s association fees and related attorney costs for living in the middle-class Reedy Branch Plantation subdivision.

No one answered the door at the home Thursday and neighbors said they didn’t know the Doss family.

Charles Baxter, who runs a deli in a convenience store across from the hotel, said Doss was a regular customer who befriended Baxter’s 18-year-old son several months ago. Baxter said he regularly drove Doss and his son to a substance-abuse treatment program in Jacksonville. Baxter said Doss told him he’d been attending the program since October for alcoholism and other trouble.

Baxter described Doss as a kind-hearted, pleasant man.

“He was a much better listener than he was at sharing his own problems,” said Baxter, 47. “I was real surprised to see him pass and I had no idea it was a murder investigation until yesterday [Wednesday] when people started talking about it.”

Doss’ career with the Navy was noteworthy for various reasons, including his being part of a team told by terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of his role as a mastermind behind 9/11, according to a 2012 story in The Bolivar (Miss.) Commercial, Doss’ hometown newspaper.


Times-Union writer Joe Daraskevich contributed to this article.

Who killed Alphonso Doss? Was it a "professional hit," or did he have a dispute with a female visitor that turned deadly?

The extreme reluctance by police to discuss why they sat on releasing news of the slaying for two weeks, only plays into the rumors now sweeping the Navy community.