Fort Hood’s Toxic Culture? Red Flags Raised Over Mysterious Disappearances, Sexual Assaults | Hollie McKay (January 6, 2021)

Fort Hood’s toxic culture? Red flags raised over mysterious disappearances, sexual assaults | Hollie McKay, Fox News (January 6, 2020):

The sizable military installation has long come under fire over allegations of coverups and abuse

The report also pointed to a lack of experience and high turnover within the ranks of the Criminal Investigation Department, leading to problems with launching sufficient investigations.

As it stands, there are more than 1,000 deserters wanted by the U.S. Army and it remains unclear explicitly what is being done to determine their fates. Ten months before Guillen disappeared, Pvt. Gregory Morales also vanished from Fort Hood. His body was unintentionally recovered a few miles from the base in June, during the search for Guillen. He had been listed as AWOL in August 2019 and later as a deserter.

However, for his mother, Kim Wedel, her life in Oklahoma halted as she pleaded for assistance and answers from Fort Hood’s Army Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

“If any other business had this many glaring problems, leadership would be gone. Why did it take an investigation to see that the CID was understaffed and overwhelmed? There was a lack of response from CID, and they certainly didn’t know what to do with me as a mom calling all the time,” Wedel told Fox News.

The Killeen Police Department is heading the investigation into Morales’ death, in which foul play is suspected, according to local reports. 

“The Army didn’t care enough to see there was a problem,” Wedel asserted. “I still haven’t really heard from anyone down there. My son will never be at the forefront, and it is shocking how many parents like us are out there. People don’t just disappear because they choose to.”

However, many soldiers and families connected to Fort Hood told Fox News that the personnel changes were merely cosmetic, and they feared “business as usual” when the spotlight faded.

Jennifer Norris, an Air Force veteran and military crime analyst who has focused on Fort Hood issues since 2016, said in order to look forward, one also must look back.

“The deaths ruled a suicide – they need to be investigated. Why did they take their lives? Were those deaths properly investigated? Was it really a suicide, or was it a murder? Everything needs to be questioned,” she added. “We can’t just pretend the last 20 years didn’t happen.” 

Read more from Fox News here.

Related Links:
Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (November 6, 2020)
15 Things Every American Should Know About the Fort Hood Report
Fort Hood’s toxic culture? Red flags raised over mysterious disappearances, sexual assaults
Tragedies At Fort Hood Have Led The Army To Rethink Its Response When Soldiers Go Missing
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017)
Speier, Mullin Introduce Bipartisan ‘I Am Vanessa Guillén Act’ to Transform the Military’s Response to Sexual Violence & Missing Servicemembers (September 16, 2020)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales Reported AWOL; Based on Anonymous Tip, Remains Found in Shallow Grave in Killeen 10 Months Later (August 19, 2019)
Timeline: Army Sgt. Kelton Sphaler and Army Vet Scott Weinhold Reported Missing at Belton Lake on Fort Hood; After Search Launched, Both Recovered in Water (January 21, 2019)
Fort Hood Army Cpl. Christopher Ferguson Died of Undetermined Causes; CID Claimed Death Was Accident; CBS News Reported Suicide (March 25, 2007)
Fort Hood Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Spc. Kamisha Block in Murder-Suicide in Iraq; Family Calls for Congressional Hearings & Independent Investigations (August 16, 2007)
Research Reveals Pattern of Violence, Suspicious Deaths, Problematic Death Investigations, and Cover-up at Fort Hood in Texas (September 11, 2020)
Stars and Stripes: Why is Fort Hood the Army’s Most Crime-Ridden Post? (August 21, 2020)
Austin American-Statesman: Vanessa Guillen’s Death Shines Light on More Tragedies at Fort Hood (July 28, 2020)
Open Letter to House of Representatives in Support of an Independent Investigation of the Murder of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood (July 7, 2020)
Unsolved Homicide Cases Affiliated with Fort Hood (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Never Forgotten: The Fort Hood Fallen (2016)

Virginia Reardon & Billie Joe McGinnis Pushed Deanna Wild Off Cliff in California; Reardon Sentenced to Life, McGinnis Died Before Trial (April 2, 1987)

Deanna Wild

Deanna Hubbard Wild, California

Virginia Reardon, 55, and Billie Joe McGinnis, 52, pushed Navy spouse and roommate Deanna Hubbard Wild, 20, off a 400 foot cliff at Big Sur in California on April 2, 1987. Deanna was living with her husband’s parents while he was at sea with the U.S. Navy. The motive was life insurance and Virginia had a string of insurance claims she cashed in on including Deanna’s death. The couple lured Deanna to the location under the guise of sight seeing, drugged her at lunch, and then it appears Billi Joe pushed her off the cliff. In the meantime, Virginia Reardon is taking pictures the entire time; investigators theorized she wanted a trophy of the homicide. After Deanna’s mother, Bobbie Roberts, found out her daughter was dead, she questioned the accidental ruling. She hired her own private investigator and attorney and they learned that Virginia Reardon had purchased a $35,000 life insurance policy the day before Deanna’s death. Reardon and McGinnis were arrested in 1989 for the murder of Deanna Wild. In 1991, Billi Joe McGinnis was charged with first degree murder but died from complications from pneumonia before his trial started. Virginia was charged and convicted on March 2, 1992 of first degree murder for financial gain. She was sentenced to life in prison, no parole. Virginia Reardon died while serving out her sentence on June 25, 2011.

Source: Vicious Vixens, Deadly Women, Investigation Discovery

Deanna Wild

One of the infamous photos taken before the murder. Investigators believe in this photo Deanna Wild was feeling the effects of the drugs she was given to make her vulnerable.

Forensic Files:

A beautiful, vibrant young woman fell to her death from a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Initially, investigators thought it was just a terrible accident. But after a closer forensic examination of photographs taken at the scene, police had a very different story of what had happened. -The Financial Downfall, Forensic Files (S9,E12)

Investigation Discovery:

ID Go: Cross these deadly vixens at your own risk. An English beauty spars with her boyfriend, a middle-aged woman sacrifices lives for money, and a couple of game players lure an innocent man into a deadly trap: these women will certainly fight to the death. -Vicious Vixens, Deadly Women (S7, E5)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Deana Jalynn Hubbard Wild (1967-1987) | Find A Grave
Billie Joe McGinnis | Find A Grave
Virginia Rearden McGinnis | Radford University
Murder Suspect Dies Night Before the Trial: Chula Vista man had been in jail for two years. He was accused, along with his ex-wife, of killing a housemate to collect on an insurance policy
Murder Suspect Dies on Eve of Jury Selection in His Trial
Prosecutor Says Woman Plotted to Murder for Money
Woman Convicted of Forcing Son’s Girlfriend Off Cliff
Jury Finds Woman Guilty of Murder for Insurance
Woman Sentenced to Life for Murdering Son’s Girlfriend
`Death Benefit’ Fleshes Out Trail Of Female Serial Killer
Killer Feels No Guilt
Insurance Scam Victim (Deana Wild)
Virginia Rearden Mcginnis infamous California inmate dead at 74
Virginia Rearden Mcginnis infamous California inmate dead at 74
Deana Wild Murdered at Big Sur for the Insurance Money
Death Benefit and Justice for Annie are based on the same true story
The Encyclopedia of Female Murderers | R | Murderpedia
Justice for Annie: A Moment of Truth Movie (1996 TV Movie)
Season 7 | Deadlywomen Wiki
Keller on the Loose: Murder Most Vile Volume 7
Death Benefit: A Lawyer Uncovers a Twenty-Year Pattern of Seduction, Arson, and Murder
“Torchered” Minds: Case Histories of Notorious Serial Arsonists
Bad Men Do what Good Men Dream: A Forensic Psychiatrist Illuminates the Darker Side of Human Behavior
Death benefit: a lawyer uncovers a twenty-year pattern of seduction, arson, and murder
Forensic Files – The Financial Downfall | FilmRise (S9, E12)
Vicious Vixens | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S7,E5)
Vicious Vixens | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (website)
Vicious Vixens | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Vicious Vixens |Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Deadly Women Premiered ‘Vicious Vixens’ on ID; Virginia Reardon & Billie Joe McGinnis Kill Son’s Wife for Life Insurance Benefits (August 16, 2013)
Deadly Women: 30 Military and Veteran Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery