Marine dies of flesh-eating disease


ROCHESTER, Mass. (WPRI) – It should have been the happiest time of his life. After years of serving in the Young Marines out of Fall River, Becket Kiernan, of Rochester, graduated high school and became a Marine.

After basic training, he was shipped out for duty in Palm Springs, California when his life and exciting career was abruptly cut short by a sudden, rare illness.

His mother, Lynda Kiernan, spoke to Eyewitness News via FaceTime from California where she was making arrangements to bring her son home for the last time.

She said she got the call on Feb. 4, informing her that what seemed to be the flu was much more serious and that she needed to fly out to California immediately. Through tears, she said she didn’t make it in time to say goodbye to her son.

Within hours of doctors discovering Becket had necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease, he was dead.

“By the time they figured out what was going on to the time he passed away about about eight hours,” Lynda Kiernan said.

Lynda Kiernan said she was able to sit with her son for two hours. Her daughters – his sisters – and her fiancé flew out to California with her.

Kiernan said she found the strength to talk about her son because she wanted to share how incredible he was in his young life.

Lynda Kiernan said as a teen, Becket organized Toys for Tots drives for the Marines, studied military history and was an AP and honors student at Old Rochester Regional High School.

She said he was proud he fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a Marine.

“Ever since Beck was tiny, he knew he wanted to be a Marine,” Lynda Kiernan said. “His whole character has always been about what he could do. He wanted to help others, His community, his family, his friends.”

Services for Becket Kiernan will take place next week. The wake will be Thursday at the Saunders-Dwyer Funeral Home in Mattapoisett, followed by a service Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Saint Anthony’s Church in Mattapoisett. His burial service will be at 11:30 a.m. at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

Kiernan said they don’t know yet how Becket might have caught the sudden and deadly illness.Copyright 2018 WPRI

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