Staff Sgt. Amy (Seyboth) Tirador, US Army, died of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident in Kirkush, Iraq on November 4, 2009. Staff Sgt. Tirador was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the 209th Military Intelligence Company, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division in Fort Lewis, Washington. This was Amy’s third tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Department of Defense announced the circumstances surrounding the incident were under investigation at the time of the press release. Media reports declared that Amy was found by a maintenance worker in the base’s small generator room with a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. The Army pathologist ruled the cause of death as a ‘self inflicted gunshot wound’ but Amy’s mother Colleen Murphy disagreed and vowed to launch a private investigation. The family expressed concerns publicly that this was an execution style murder on a secure base and that she was killed in the generator room to muffle the sounds of the gunshot. Amy’s DNA evidence was found on the 9mm and that of another person. The family shared that the investigation report attempted to lead one to believe that Amy was considered high risk for suicide because of pressures at work as an Arabic translator and a strained marriage. Amy’s husband Michael Tirador was living at the same deployed location in Iraq as Amy at the time of her death. Amy’s mother denied any history of depression or substance abuse and does not believe her daughter committed suicide.
A year after Amy’s death the Army Criminal Investigation Division indicated in media reports that the investigation was not completed and no final rulings had been made. Yet Colleen Murphy shared that she was told the case was officially closed and expressed frustration with the miscommunication she typically experienced with Army bureaucracy. Amy’s mother also indicated that a lot of women in the military who have died have had their deaths falsely ruled as suicides. Colleen learned from other families who have lost their loved ones that they have even exhumed their daughters’ bodies and found that, without a shadow of a doubt, they did not kill themselves. Colleen indicated that she was going to get a second autopsy in light of the Army pathologist’s determination of cause of death. Michael Tirador expressed in interviews that he did not believe that his wife committed suicide and ordered that her body be exhumed for a second autopsy. Michael was of course a person of interest but his DNA did not match the second DNA profile on the gun. Colleen Murphy indicated that despite Michael’s claims that they had a good marriage, Amy wanted to divorce him. Amy’s father Greg Seyboth expressed concern that her work as a interrogator made her a high-profile target. Retired Army Colonel Ann Wright validated Amy’s family when she published an article stating that several female soldier’s deaths have been grossly mislabled by the military yet when faced with further evidence, they refused to change their findings. Colleen Murphy stated that she will never accept that her daughter committed suicide and that the Army is covering up the real reason that she was killed.
Tirador’s “greatness” has been shrouded in military “secrecy”. Her military legacy clouded by the military’s label of a “non-combat” death. An execution-style death in a “secure area” on an American military base in a war zone. –Family of Amy Tirador
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