Did the Army do enough to prevent soldier’s death?

Tina PriestPfc. Tina Priest of Smithville died in Iraq on March 1, 2006 and her family is worried that the Army botched its care for her after a rape claim that was followed by her apparent suicide.

Investigations did not find sufficient evidence to continue the rape inquiry, but the family, skeptical of what it sees as holes in the Army’s information, is waiting for a final review by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

Family members also say Army officials told them that the investigation was concluded in September, but their requests for the final report are being denied. A recent article in the Hartford Courant newspaper citing that final report has heightened the Priests’ anger.

“I need some closure,” said Joy Priest, Tina Priest’s mother. “I want to know. Why can a newspaper get a copy of that report and we can’t?”

An investigation conducted in Iraq by Fort Hood’s 4th Infantry Division, in which Priest served, was conducted after her death, and its findings — which the family was given — are an accurate portrayal of events, said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a spokesman for the division. He said the Criminal Investigation Command report will be the last one issued, “and we do still owe that to the family.”

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