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Former 'Pirate Master' contestant Cheryl Kosewicz found dead in home


By Steve Rogers, 07/29/2007 

Former Pirate Master contestant Cheryl Kosewicz was found dead in her home from an apparent suicide on Friday.

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Kosewicz, a 35-year-old deputy district attorney that had recently relocated to Sparks, NV, had been the fourth contestant eliminated from the recently canceled CBS reality series. Prior to moving to the Washoe County District Attorney's Office in Reno, NV, Kosewicz had spent six and a half years working in the Clark County District Attorney's Office in Las Vegas, NV. According to her CBS biographical information, she had specialized in the prosecution of sexual abuse cases.

Kosewicz's death, which is still under investigation, occurred less than two months after her boyfriend, Ryan O'Neil, also took his own life, Reno's KOLO-TV ABC affiliate reported Sunday.

O'Neil, a 26-year-old heavy equipment operator from Gardnerville, NV, died on June 12, according to a June 15 obituary in The Nevada Appeal.  Based on comments posted via her MySpace account, Kosewicz had been having a very difficult time coping with O'Neil's death.

"Truthfully, I've lost the strong Cheryl and I'm just floating around lost," Kosewicz wrote in a June 28 comment posted on the MySpace webpage of fellow Pirate Master contestant Nessa Nemir, a 29-year-old make-up artist from Berkeley, CA. "And this frik'n show doesn't help because it was such a contention between Ryan and I and plus its not getting good reviews."

Kosewicz had graduated as valedictorian from Lake Roosevelt High School in Coulee Dam, WA in 1990.  After high school, she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she played on the school's Lady Rebels womens basketball team.  She graduated from UNLV in 1994.  In 2000, Kosewicz received a law degree from Lewis and Clark School of Law.

Kosewicz is survived by her parents Ted M. and Elizabeth Ann, her brother Mike, her grandmother Wenona Ried, and extended family and friends.

Kosewicz's funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday at 10AM at Walton Funeral Home in Reno.  An interment will follow in Las Vegas at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, Kosewicz's family requests that donations be made to Kids Kottage, a Washoe County protective shelter program for children that have been removed from their families.  Donations can be sent to: Washoe County Social Services, P.O. Box 11130, Reno, NV 89520.

Last Monday, CBS announced that due to poor ratings, it had decided to pull Pirate Master, a Mark Burnett-created reality competition show that was filmed on Dominica earlier this year, from its summer primetime programming schedule effective immediately. 

Rather than continuing to air in the Tuesday night time period that the show had move to earlier this month, Pirate Master's five remaining episodes -- beginning with the episode that had been scheduled to air last Tuesday -- will now made available for streaming on CBS.com every Tuesday morning beginning at 3AM ET.

Should Kosewicz's death be conclusively ruled a suicide, it will be the second to hit a Mark Burnett reality show. In 2005, Najai 'Nitro' Turpin, a 23-year-old boxer from Philadelphia, PA, fatally shot himself following an early morning Valentine's Day argument with Angela Chapple, his longtime girlfriend.  According to Chapple, the couple had been arguing over custody of their 2-year-old daughter. 

Turpin's death came a month before The Contender, a Burnett-produced reality boxing series that had filmed in late 2004 and included Turpin among its cast, premiered in March 2005.  Like Kosewicz's Pirate Master elimination, Turpin's The Contender elimination occurred during the show's fourth episode.

(Photo credit CBS)


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