Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Female GI Likely Homicide Victim

The Good News is: it's been awhile since a female GI from Ft. Bragg was murdered by her peers.
The Bad News: It's apparently happened again.
The Predictable additional bad news: looks like another Army coverup has been in pl

Fayetteville NC Observer - November 17, 2010 .

Murder in Iraq? -- Soldier’s death not an accident

By John Ramsey, Staff writer

The death in July of a Fort Bragg paratrooper in Iraq was originally considered an accident, but investigators say they’re now treating it as a homicide.
Spc. Morganne Marie McBeth, 19, died in Asad, Iraq, on July 2, according to Army news releases that first announced her death.
Investigators were first told the death was accidental, said Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, also known as CID.
“However, as the criminal investigation progressed, our special agents came to disbelieve the report of an accident,” Grey said in an e-mail response to questions. “We take the death of this soldier very seriously and are investigating it as a homicide.”
McBeth deployed to Iraq in August 2009 as a combat medic assigned to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. During its yearlong deployment, none of the brigade’s soldiers died in combat.
McBeth’s parents, Leonard and Sylvia McBeth of Fredericksburg, Va., said they’re frustrated that authorities have been slow to charge for their daughter’s death.
Sylvia McBeth said she’s now been told three different stories about how their daughter died.
The first soldiers who notified the McBeths told them that Morganne McBeth had accidentally stabbed herself while playing with a knife in a tent.
Later, they were told she was tossing a knife against a board with two other soldiers. The knife got lodged in the board, and one of the soldiers accidentally stabbed McBeth when pulling out the knife.
Finally, Slyvia McBeth said, investigators told them she was murdered. The suspects were friends of McBeth’s, Sylvia said.
Sylvia McBeth said investigators told them one soldier will be charged with murder, conspiracy and obstruction of justice while another will be charged with conspiracy and obstruction.
Those soldiers may be at Fort Bragg.
Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team returned to Fort Bragg in August.
An 82nd Airborne Division spokesman confirmed that no arrests have been made and directed all other questions about the investigation to CID.
“As far as we know, these individuals are not arrested, they are not charged with any crime. They told us they are not a danger to anybody or themselves and they are not a flight risk,” Sylvia McBeth said. “We don’t know what the problem is, why they’re not being charged or why they’re not being held accountable for what they did.”
She said investigators haven’t updated the family in more than two months. That’s why she and her husband decided to start talking to reporters.
McBeth said she spoke to her daughter days before her death. She said McBeth was unhappy with her unit and planned to seek another assignment after the deployment ended.
McBeth joined the Army on July 9, 2008, and had been stationed at Fort Bragg since Feb 25, 2009.
Sylvia McBeth said investigators told her that her daughter was able to give a full statement to military police before she died. She said she hasn’t been told what her daughter said, except that there was some type of struggle.
Grey, the CID spokesman, said family members are kept in the loop on investigations, but for investigative purposes he couldn’t discuss details of what they were told.
He said the first death notification to the family would have come from Army notification officers, not crime investigators. Grey said he has no way of knowing what those soldiers told the McBeth family.
As the criminal case progressed, Grey said, the reports to family members would have changed to reflect new findings.
“Keep in mind that only at the conclusion of the investigation will there be conclusive findings based on final lab results, witness statements and other issues that significantly affect a death investigation of this importance,” Grey said.

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