Call to Investigate Army Murder Cover Up

On July 19, 2005, a US soldier was murdered.  The murder was literally covered up as a suicide, and glaring inconsistencies in the official autopsy with actual wounds ignored.  (Feministing):

Retired Army Col. Ann Wright explains what we all want investigated:

From the day their daughter’s body was returned to them, the parents had grave suspicions about the Army’s investigation into Lavena’s death and the characterization of her death as suicide. In charge of a communications facility, Lavena was able to call home daily. In those calls she gave no indication of emotional problems or being upset. In a letter to her parents, Lavena’s commanding officer Captain David Woods wrote: “Lavena was clearly happy and seemed in very good health both physically and emotionally.”In viewing his daughter’s body at the funeral home, Dr. Johnson was concerned about the bruising on her face. He was puzzled by the discrepancy in the autopsy report on the location of the gunshot wound. As a US Army veteran and a 25-year US Army civilian employee who had counseled veterans, he was mystified how the exit wound of an M-16 shot could be so small. The hole in Lavena’s head appeared to be more the size of a pistol shot rather than an M-16 round. He questioned why the exit hole was on the left side of her head, when she was right handed. But the gluing of military uniform white gloves onto Lavena’s hands hiding burns on one of her hands is what deepened Dr. Johnson’s concerns that the Army’s investigation into the death of his daughter was flawed.

They glued the white gloves onto her hands to hide burns. A literal cover-up. It’s so clear that this and other details of LaVena’s case don’t add up to suicide.

Her family and friends are pushing for justice. It is a stinging slap in the face of rule of law and the integrity of the armed forces that her murder is not being investigated.  It is a crime that the safety and well being of female officers in the US military is clearly off the radar of the top brass.  This is a case that has implications for all women serving:

And it’s sadly not exactly far-fetched that she was sexually assaulted: A full one-third of women veterans report rape or attempted rape during their time in the military. So it’s important to keep the pressure on Congress and the military to open an investigation into her death. For LaVena, yes. Absolutely. But also for other military women whose rapes and murders have been covered up. Wright writes,

The military has characterized each of the deaths of women who were first sexually assaulted as deaths from “non-combat related injuries,” and then added “suicide.” Yet, the families of the women whom the military has declared to have committed suicide, strongly dispute the findings and are calling for further investigations into the deaths of their daughters. Specific US Army units and certain US military bases in Iraq have an inordinate number of women soldiers who have died of “non-combat related injuries,” with several identified as “suicides.”

Please sign that petition today.

The petition is here.  The cover up (and other similar coverups) are a mark of the deepest shame on the military.  There is no honor there without justice.

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