Todd Kauppila died on May 8, 2005, aged 41, of hemorrhagic pancreatitis, at the Los Alamos hospital, according to the state medical examiner's office. No photograph of him is available due to the secret nature of his work.
Kauppila's death came just two days after he had publicly rejoiced over news that the lab's director, Peter Nanos, was leaving. Kauppila had been fired by Nanos on Sept. 23, 2004 following a security scandal. Kauppila stated he has been fired because he did not immediately return from a family vacation during a lab investigation into two classified computer disks that were thought to be missing; the apparent security breach had forced Nanos to shut down the lab for several weeks. Kauppila claimed he was made a scapegoat over the missing disks, which investigators subsequently concluded never existed, the mistake being blamed on a clerical error.
After leaving Los Alamos, Kauppila accepted a job as a contractor at Bechtel Nevada Corp., a research company that works with Los Alamos and other national laboratories.