A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (April 2018)

April 2018

Missing:
Patrick F. Carnes, Nevada (2011) | Missing Veterans
Mother Joins Search for Navy Officer Son Who Vanished on Way to Submarine Based in Connecticut
Federal agencies get involved with search for missing Martinsville man

Cold Cases:
Air Force Col. Philip Shue Died in an Apparent Car Accident, But Autopsy Revealed Much More; Texas Judge Ruled Cause of Death as Homicide (April 16, 2003)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Neighborhood in Killeen, Texas (April 17, 2017)

Reward Offered:
$11K offered in hunt for Marine accused of killing detective’s daughter
Former Marine wanted for murder believed to be in Mexico, manhunt underway
Authorities ask for public’s help in locating ex-Marine fugitive

Petitions:
Advocate for review and reform of injustice in the Military

Announcements:
Veterans legal clinic scheduled in Killeen
Save Our Heroes Sends Letter of Concern to Joint Regional Correctional Facility Leavenworth, Re Violation of the United Nations Human Rights Commission

Legislation:
This Gunnery Sergeant’s job destroyed his body to the point of retirement
Diagnosed With Leukemia, This Officer Was One Year From Retirement

Continue reading

Fort Hood Army Spc. Zachary Moore Found Unresponsive in Barracks on Deployment to Camp Hovey, South Korea; CID Ruled Suicide (2017)

SPC-Moore-235x300

Spc. Zachary Moore, US Army

Spc. Zachary Moore, 23, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was found unresponsive August 1, 2017 in his barracks room at Camp Hovey in South Korea. Spc. Moore was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital and pronounced deceased on August 2, 2017. Spc. Moore entered active-duty military service in March 2014 as a signal support systems specialist. He was assigned to the 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood in Texas since July 2016. The circumstances surrounding the incident were investigated by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the cause of death was ruled a suicide.

*****************************************

Was Zachary Moore’s Death Preventable?

In May 2017, Fort Hood announced they were deploying 3,500 troops to South Korea over the summer. Twenty-three (23) year old Zachary Moore was one of the soldiers deployed to South Korea. With full knowledge of Zachary’s recent mental health issues, the Chain of Command gave him a mental health waiver against his will, and most likely against medical advice, so they could deploy him to South Korea.

In October 2016, Zachary had a mental health breakdown and went Absent without Leave (AWOL). After a successful intervention, Zachary was found and returned to the custody of his Chain of Command at Fort Hood. Zachary’s command then sent him to an emergency room where he was hospitalized and prescribed medication. After Zachary was discharged from the hospital, he continued to seek treatment for mental health issues. Six months later, Zachary was given a mental health waiver by his command to deploy to South Korea.

About a month after Zachary arrived at Camp Hovey in South Korea, his depression medication was changed. As a matter of fact, his depression medication was changed the day before he was found unresponsive in his barracks room. Zachary attempted to kill himself on August 1st, less than 24 hours after the medication change. It was Zachary who called his Command for help as there is no 911 on the base in South Korea. He was found unresponsive and finally transported to the hospital about 1 ½ to 2 hours later. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, listed as critical then stable, yet passed away on August 2, 2017.

Why did Zachary Moore go AWOL?

The Chain of Command contacted Jeanette to report Zachary hadn’t been seen since October 18, 2016. They also informed her they were not actively looking for him but would file AWOL status on October 20th. When asked if they filed a missing persons report, Jeanette claims they told her they did but she says she was lead to believe Zachary trashed his room, took his things, and left willingly. She immediately flew to Texas from Florida to find him.

Jeanette contacted the Killeen Police Department as soon as she got to Fort Hood and the local law enforcement found Zachary the same day she arrived. Over the phone, the Command told Jeanette they filed a missing persons report but she learned from the Killeen Police Department that they never did. The Killeen PD noticed recent activity on Facebook so they pinged Zach’s cell phone & found that he was in a remote area of a local state park.

Zachary attempted to flee initially but after negotiations, he surrendered and was returned to the police station where his mom was waiting. Jeanette could tell Zachary was mentally broken and he admitted to her that he wanted to hurt himself.  The Killeen PD found Zachary and he had a knife in his possession. Zachary was returned to the custody of his Chain of Command at Fort Hood. Shortly after Zachary informed his mom that his superiors told him to tell her to leave town and stop interfering.

Jeanette reports that Zachary never had any mental health issues prior to this and suspected that Zachary was “singled out by his command and harassed.”

Areas of Concern in Zachary Moore’s Case:

  • Zachary revealed he was harassed by his Chain of Command. For example, his leave papers to visit family before deploying were denied; he was denied permission to see the Fort Hood Inspector General officer; he was harassed during training exercises; he was given exhausting extra duties; and was accused of taking a radio which was later found on a military officer’s desk. Why was he denied the opportunity to speak to the IG officer?
  • Zachary was accused of trashing his room and taking his belongings when he went AWOL. Jeanette believes the circumstances surrounding the vandalism of his room and the theft of his property could be evidence of harassment.
  • During mental health treatment, Zachary was facing the consequences of going AWOL; Zachary was accused of trashing his own room; and Zachary was accused of stealing a secure radio? What are the additional mental health impacts of the way the Chain of Command uses the military justice system?
  • The circumstances of the mental health waiver and the justifications for sending Zachary to South Korea while he was undergoing treatment for mental health issues and medication management should be investigated.
  • The effects of the medication change in South Korea should be investigated. Is Command aware that some medications can cause serious negative reactions? (Some depression medication causes suicidal ideation.) Who monitors serious medication changes in deployed locations? Is it safe to deploy soldiers in the early phases of medication management for mental health issues?
  • Finally, the delay in the Command’s response to Zachary’s call for help in South Korea should be investigated. Why did it take so long to respond to Zachary and why did it take so long to get Zachary to the hospital? Did anyone attempt to administer help while waiting for the ambulance?
  • If the Command was the cause of the mental health break, where was Zachary supposed to turn? How do we hold the Chain of Command accountable? How do we prevent the Chain of Command from retaliating and using the military justice system or non judicial punishment as a weapon? What was the role of the Commander? What was the role of the Fort Hood Inspector General? How can we prevent a young soldier from feeling like the only way out of their situation is AWOL or suicide? How could we have prevented Zachary’s death?
  • Soldiers have come forward, given their stories to the family and have offered to testify about what Zachary was put through which may explain why he died. Were these soldiers questioned?

Source: Jeanette Nazario (Zachary Moore’s mom)

Related Links:
U.S. Army SPC Zachary Moore Funeral – 8/11/17
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier – Spc. Zachary Charles Moore
Spc. Zachary Moore, 1st Cavalry Division
Fort Hood soldier dies in South Korea
Fort Hood soldier dies in Korea
Fort Hood: Soldier found dead in barracks in South Korea identified
Soldier from VB dies after being found unresponsive in South Korea barrack
Virginia Beach soldier dies in South Korea
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
73 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 4 Insider Attacks & 2 Suicides Overseas; 67 Stateside Deaths Including 34 Alleged Suicides & 1 Unsolved Homicide
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook

Navy Sailor Andrea Daves Found Dead in Charred Vehicle in California; San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Ruled Cause of Death as Suicide (2017)

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-11-06-41-am

Andrea Daves, US Navy

Navy sailor Andrea Daves’ deceased body was found in a charred vehicle at the end of a cul-de-sac in Lakeside, California on February 22, 2017. She was a mother of two children and on maternity leave at the time of her death. Initially the death was ruled as a homicide but in May 2017, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Homicide Unit ruled the cause of death as suicide due to thermal burns.

“Her mother, Pamela Johnson, told 10 News in February that her daughter loved serving in the Navy and was a good person. Johnson believed her daughter had been killed by someone else.” –East County Magazine

Related Links:
Body found inside burning car in Lakeside
Woman found in burning car identified
Body Of Columbus Woman Found In SoCal
Body found inside Lakeside car fire identified
Body discovered in scorched car in Lakeside identified
Body found in scorched car identified as Santee mother
Body found inside burning car in San Diego identified as Columbus native
Navy Sailor’s body discovered in burning car in Lakeside
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Death Investigation Update
Cause of Death Determined in Lakeside Car Fire
East County Emergency Update | Andrea Daves
Death of Sailor/Mom Found in Burning Vehicle in Santee Ruled Suicide

Army Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles Found Unresponsive in Vehicle at Fort Hood Housing in Texas; Initially CID Investigated as Homicide But Later Ruled Suicide (2016)

briles

Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles, US Army

Army Private Paige Fontenot Briles, 21, was found unresponsive in her vehicle at Fort Hood housing in Texas on Christmas eve, December 24, 2016. Private Fontenot Briles is from Kaplin, Louisiana and joined the Army in February 2015. Pvt. Fontenot Briles was assigned to Fort Hood as a wheeled vehicle mechanic. She deployed to Kuwait shortly after completing Advanced Individual Training (AIT). She returned stateside early in December 2015 after she was injured in the line of duty. In November 2016, she was assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center. Pvt. Fontenot Briles was going to be discharged from the Army in February 2017 and had plans to attend dental hygienist school. Family report that Pvt. Fontenot Briles cause of death was determined a homicide by the Army but the Bell County coroner’s office made a suicide determination. The Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) ruled the cause of death as suicide.

*************************************************

Background:

Paige joined the U.S. Army in February 2015 & was permanently assigned to Fort Hood as a wheeled vehicle mechanic after Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Paige shared with her family that she was raped by her recruiter before she went to Fort Jackson for basic training but she did not report the incident. Shortly after arriving to Fort Hood, Paige was deployed to Kuwait in October 2015. Although she returned home early in December 2015 after being found unresponsive under a vehicle. She was injured in the line of duty and the only thing she shared with her family was that she “saw things no one should ever have to see.”

Paige met and married another soldier she hadn’t known that long in January 2016 upon her return home from Kuwait. According to Army CID, they learned that the marriage was contractual and the two did in fact share a home up until recently. When Paige met her husband, she had already experienced multiple traumas from the rape and her experience in Kuwait; she was vulnerable. After a few months of marriage, Paige got pregnant but her “husband” did not want a child and convinced her to get an abortion in August 2016. It was at this point, Paige had a mental health breakdown and was hospitalized for 28 days. She was eventually transferred to the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) in November 2016.

image1The WTU allowed Paige to escape the unhealthy arrangement she was trapped in with her contractual husband and she was starting to feel better after being free of him for a couple months. Family reports that Paige decided to get out of the military, move back in with her sister and parents, and pursue an education as a dental hygienist. Paige was expected to discharge in February 2017. Paige put in leave to go home for Christmas in December 2016 but it was denied. Paige took a picture of herself on SnapChat and sent it to her contacts on Christmas Eve. She wrote “here’s to another Christmas alone.” And the Army wants us to believe that 30 minutes later, Paige would be dead by her own hand.

On the night in question, Paige drove to a friend’s house on post. She was house sitting for them while they were out of town. About an hour later, Paige was found unresponsive in the driver’s seat in her vehicle in the parking lot outside her friend’s home. She had been stabbed. Initially the Army investigated the death as a homicide but in December 2017, the family was informed that the cause of death was ruled a suicide. Less than two years in the Army and Paige was gone. She told her parents she was raped, she saw things in Kuwait no one should ever see, and that she was in an unhealthy relationship with a man she was trying to escape. Paige had been through hell in her short time in the Army but she had hope. She knew she was returning to Louisiana to a loving family and a sister who was her best friend. She didn’t feel so trapped that suicide was the only way out.

Paige had a second chance at life in just a couple months when she was going to be discharged. Paige’s parents want their daughter’s case investigated as a homicide. They provided the Army CID with a person of interest. They had interaction and negative experiences with the person of interest. They shared their first hand interactions (witness testimony) and their concerns with CID but felt their experiences and observations were dismissed. They know their daughter was not suicidal because she was due to get out of the Army in February 2017 and she had plans. When questioned if the Army CID ever investigated the person of interest, Paige’s family responded with “the Army CID never investigated any persons of interest.” As a matter of fact, the Army discharged the soldier these parents suspected was the person of interest.

What happens when the Army discharges a soldier who may be a person of interest? They in effect give up jurisdiction of the soldier once they become a civilian unless they are retired. The soldier who was considered a ‘person of interest’ by the family was discharged for disciplinary reasons. Enter across state line jurisdictional issues and the Federal Bureau of Investigation who appears to want to steer clear of cases on military bases. The parents report that initially Paige’s stabbing death was investigated as a homicide yet in the end, despite the autopsy, forensics, suspicious circumstances in her life, and the parents testimony, Paige’s death was ruled a suicide by the Army CID. Once a death is ruled a suicide, the investigation is over and the US Army never has to investigate again.

How does the family get justice for Paige?

Source: Teri Fontenot (Paige Briles’ mom)

Related Links:
Fort Hood soldier found dead on post on Christmas Eve
Fort Hood soldier found dead identified as Kaplan woman
Fort Hood officials announce death of a soldier
Death of 21-year-old Fort Hood soldier under investigation
Fort Hood: Death of soldier on Christmas Eve under investigation
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
73 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 4 Insider Attacks & 2 Suicides Overseas; 67 Stateside Deaths Including 34 Alleged Suicides & 1 Unsolved Homicide
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook

Fort Hood Army Spc. Bradley Acker Found Dead at Off-Post Residence in Copperas Cove; CCPD Reported Cause of Death Self-Inflicted (2016)

57fe43f255d82-image

Spc. Bradley Acker, US Army

Army Spc. Bradley Acker, 25, was found dead at his off-post residence in Copperas Cove, Texas on October 7, 2016. Spc. Acker’s home of record is listed as Canandaigua, New York and he joined the Army in October 2010. Spc. Acker was reclassified as an aircraft power plant repairer and was assigned to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood in 2014. The Copperas Cove Police Department ruled the cause of death was self-inflicted.

Related Links:
Spc. Bradley Michael Acker, 1st Cavalry Division
Army identifies Fort Hood soldier found dead in his home
Fort Hood Soldier found unresponsive, identified
Fort Hood Soldier found dead in home identified
Fort Hood: Soldier found dead in residence identified
Fort Hood officials ID soldier found dead in Cove
Soldier Found Dead At Fort Hood, 13th Body Found Since September
Why Have So Many Fort Hood Army Soldiers Died Stateside in the Last Year?
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook

Army SSG Devin Schuette Found Dead in Vehicle at Recreation Area Near Fort Hood; CID Ruled Suicide, Spouse Requests Independent Investigation (2016)

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-4-45-21-pm

SSG Devin Schuette, US Army

SSG Devin Schuette, 35, U.S. Army, originally of Clovis, New Mexico, was found dead inside a car near the recreation area at Fort Hood on January 3, 2016. According to his family, he had been missing since New Year’s Day. SSG Schuette’s service with the Army began in April 1999 as an infantryman and he was serving as an Intelligence Analyst with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood at the time of his death. He also served three overseas tours as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom; his deployments were from March 2003 to March 2004, November 2005 to October 2006 and June 2008 to June 2009. As of January 6, 2016, the Criminal Investigation Division was investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident. At the time of reporting, they did not suspect any foul play but were not ruling anything out as they moved forward with the investigation.

***************************************************************

Three weeks prior to his disappearance, Devin Schuette was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). On January 3, 2016, Devin was found dead on Liberty Hill road close to the paintball course at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area (BLORA) near Fort Hood. The Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) ruled the death a suicide.

Moments Leading Up to Disappearance

Tannie was asleep at her on post home at Fort Hood when she woke up to Devin yelling at their daughter. Devin was asking her if she wanted to go to a friend’s house but she didn’t want to leave the house. Tannie asked him what his problem was and why he was insistent on their daughter going to a friend’s house. At the same time, she realized their oldest daughter and youngest son were already at a friend’s house after Devin urged them to go. Devin went outside to cool down after the encounter and started loading some pallets in the back of his truck.

After Devin completed the task, he drove around to the back of the house and began unloading the pallets. Tannie was concerned that the pallets would leave rusty nails in the backyard where the kids played so she asked Devin to take them back to the carport area. Tannie helped Devin load the pallets back up and in the process threw a piece of wood that broke the front windshield on the passenger’s side of Devin’s truck. Devin returned to the carport and asked their daughter if she wanted to help him build a doghouse. She agreed to help him after her and Tannie got back from getting some coffee nearby on post.

When Tannie returned to the house, Devin was gone but her son was home. Her son told her that as he was walking home, he saw Devin pass by in his truck. He waved at him but said that it appeared Devin didn’t see him because he didn’t wave back. The family assumed he was looking for more wood to build the doghouse with. But after he was gone for awhile, the family started getting concerned. Tannie’s phone had broke so she asked the neighbor if she could use their phone to call Devin. Devin answered the phone and said he was driving around Copperas Cove…and then the line went dead.

Tannie asked to use her friend’s phone and then jumped in her car to go looking for Devin. After awhile, her friend asked Tannie if she would bring her phone back so she did and asked her friend to get in touch with her if Devin calls. But first, Tannie called the Fort Hood military police and they sent an officer out to her home. Tannie tried to convey to them that this is not typical of Devin because he always says he loves her before they hang up. And Devin hates ending calls abruptly. The Fort Hood military police told her she has to wait 24 hours before she could make an official missing person’s report.

Reported Missing to Fort Hood After 24 Hour Waiting Period

Tannie wasn’t going to waste anytime looking for Devin when she knew in her gut that something was wrong with the way their phone call ended. She quickly got on social media to ask her local community and Devin’s co-workers for help looking for him. Tannie’s mom and sister drove great distances to help search for him. Tannie drove to where their camper was stored at the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area. She didn’t have a key because Devin had the only key but she knocked and looked for his truck. After the twenty-four hour waiting requirement, Tannie filed a formal missing person’s report with the Fort Hood military police. They pinged his phone and found the location of where the phone was last active rather quickly but nobody contacted Tannie until the following day.

Tannie received an e-mail from Devin’s NCO (boss) with the general location of where the phone was located on Sunday, January 3rd. The phone pinged in a fifteen mile radius located in the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area. Devin went missing on Friday night, January 1st, Tannie made a formal missing person’s report to the Fort Hood military police on Saturday, January 2nd, and didn’t hear from anyone at Fort Hood until Sunday. Meanwhile, she and many other’s were frantically driving all over the place looking for Devin. U.S. Army W.T.F! moments shared the missing information and that’s when they saw a real social media response including search teams. As soon as they got the general location of where the phone pinged, the search teams began focusing on that area.

Initially everyone focused on searching the left side of the road within that 15 mile radius in BLORA. At 4 pm that same day, Tannie headed back to the Hobby Lobby where she met up with others and they headed to the K-Mart parking lot where there was a huge tent set up as a command post. There were a lot of people there when she arrived and she wasn’t sure if they were all civilians or if some of them were soldiers too. At the tent there was a map with grids. Each pair of searchers was assigned a grid. After they got done searching the left side, they searched the right side of the road. As Tannie was searching, she passed Liberty Hill road, a road that goes to the paintball course at BLORA. Tannie thought about going down Liberty Hill road but something stopped her and she decided not to. Then about five miles outside of the post, Tannie pulled over and parked her car when they saw a man with a flashlight walking down the road.

The man approached them while Tannie was talking to an embedded reporter who wanted to do a story about her missing husband. So Tannie’s mom and sister went to go talk to him. They returned to Tannie and reported the man was very drunk and he said he was looking for a friend’s truck. The pair also observed blood on his clothing and blood spatter on his face. They informed Tannie while she was giving the reporter a brief so she stopped what she was doing and called 911. They wanted to go after him and confront him but were scared and freaked out. Tannie and her family observed him walking away towards a truck with a flat bed trailer on it. When they took off, they were hauling ass.

Eventually the game warden and military police showed up. Tannie and her family shared their observations about the drunk man with blood on him. The police started looking in the area and eventually a game warden did in fact find this mysterious man. The game warden told Tannie the man was a cattle rancher and the blood on his face was from a cut above his eye. The blood had dripped down on his face. Fort Hood uses land for training owned by the Texas Cattle Rancher’s Association therefore this provided the man with an excuse for why he was near the post. Tannie felt like they missed an opportunity to investigate by giving him a reason to be there (negated a means) and made an excuse for the blood spatter (ignored important forensic evidence). They could have at the very least taken a picture as evidence given the fact they were searching for a missing soldier.

Devin Schuette Found Near Paintball Course at BLORA

Tannie reports that she found out Devin was deceased after a man from her church called her while she was on her way to the location with his Commander. This man from church and another male volunteer she didn’t know found Devin deceased in his truck on Liberty Hill road off a little dirt road to the left. It was the first dirt road on the left. He was found about 100 yards from Liberty Hill road which is where the BLORA paintball course is located. Tannie immediately began to wonder what Devin was doing there. Why was he down that road to begin with? Was he by himself?

The Commander may have found out about Devin when she did because he wasn’t the one to tell her. When they arrived at the location, the military police started directing each other to silence their radios as the Commander was approaching them. Tannie wanted to go see Devin but the military police wouldn’t let her see him or go near the truck. Instead, the military police detained Tannie and began questioning her. They asked her, her mom, and sister if they saw anything, did they see him in the truck, did they touch the crime scene? Tannie felt like the investigators were treating them like criminals.

After the interrogation, Tannie started walking towards Liberty Hill road where Devin’s Commander was waiting for her. Her vehicle was parked on the side of the dirt road where Devin was found. She was held at gun point and asked to stop as an ambulance was arriving with their lights and sirens on. They were arriving on the scene and driving towards Devin. Tannie was startled and traumatized, and if seeing her husband wasn’t allowed, she wanted to get back home to comfort her children. They unfortunately learned their dad was found deceased on social media. Tannie observed that the Army CID and coroner didn’t show up until after she left the scene.

Tannie was sleeping with her children when she heard a knock at the door at 1 a.m. on Monday, January 4th. She answered the door and it was Devin’s First Sergeant and an Army Chaplain there to inform her that Devin was officially ruled deceased by the coroner. Tannie admits that she went off on Devin’s First Sergeant because while everyone was on leave, Devin talked to him about his medical issues including Post Traumatic Stress. Not long after they left, two military police showed up to get an official statement from Tannie and Tannie said no because she just found out her husband died. She told them they could come back tomorrow.

The Fort Hood Investigation of Devin Schuette

The next day, a Casualty Assistance Officer (CAO) came to her home as did the Army CID investigators. CID questioned her and she gave them the same story she gave the military police the night before. During the questioning, they accused Tannie of being hostile because Tannie told them they didn’t do everything they could to find Devin and they weren’t doing their job. A couple days later, CID called Tannie into their office to read Devin’s suicide note. Tannie questioned the note in the presence of military personnel and observed that it did not look like Devin’s handwriting. The lettering on this note was enlarged but Devin didn’t write big like that.

Eight months later, Tannie would receive the Army CID investigation package and find a different letter that was on different paper (green military issued notebook paper) and did contain handwriting similar to Devin, unlike the first one she read. The investigation report revealed even more inconsistencies and things that didn’t add up. For example, the investigation package said there were beer cans located in Devin’s truck but the Army did not include the beer cans when they returned Devin’s truck (these beer cans could have valuable evidence on them). Where are they? The investigation package did not include the autopsy report. Where is the autopsy report? It is unknown if a toxicology report was done to confirm if there was a blood alcohol level in Devin’s system.

Devin was taking medication at the time of his disappearance. He was taking effexor, gabapentin, and hydrocodone for the pain from a spinal infusion surgery. Tannie observed another discrepancy when she read in the investigation package that Devin’s medication levels were appropriate given the dosage, but Devin missed a couple days before he died. Tannie believes Devin died on Sunday, January 3rd, shortly before the volunteers found him. One of the volunteers tested Devin for a pulse and observed that he was still warm to the touch. This meant to Tannie that rigor mortis most likely hadn’t set in yet because it takes upwards of twelve hours. Tannie also shared that she learned a stiff body will begin to relax after about 48-72 hours of rigor mortis. Was an official time of death ever determined?

Tannie Schuette Feeling Betrayed by the System

Tannie reflected on her experience with Fort Hood. What concerned her the most is that Devin’s command was never planning on searching for him. Their plan was to consider him Absent without Leave (AWOL) if he didn’t show up to work on Monday, January 4th. The volunteers who found Devin gave her a description of what they witnessed at the scene. One was prior military and he too was questioned by the Army CID about what he witnessed. Tannie spoke to him after his interview with CID and he shared that Devin had blood coming from both legs and blood coming from his left forearm. Tannie also learned that Devin looked out of it.

Tannie was told that Devin died from asphyxiation so why was there blood everywhere? There was blood on Devin. There was blood on a blanket. And there was blood in the seat of the driver’s side of his truck. She also learned that the truck was still running and the heat was on full blast. Tannie theorizes that the blood on Devin’s forearm could be defensive wounds from protecting himself from an attacker. Tannie also thinks that a laceration on the back of his hand is consistent with defensive wounds. The blood droplets on Devin’s face could be consistent with head trauma from a knife. Tannie read in the investigation report that Devin had nine ‘self-inflicted’ stab wounds but none of them were life-threatening.

Devin’s truck was eventually returned to Tannie. She observed knife cuts on the door panel on the driver’s side and on the left shoulder area of the passenger seat. Of course Army CID denies her theories because they apparently investigated the scene as a suicide, not a homicide. This is evidenced by the fact that the Army left the truck sitting out in the elements until they returned it to Tannie. Therefore, what is considered valuable evidence to Tannie wasn’t safeguarded while in their custody. Tannie also noted that before Devin began working with the pallets, he had chopped up vegetables for a new beer can chicken recipe he wanted to try on Friday night. All the prep work was done but they were out of propane. Maybe Devin went to the camper to get propane. A propane tank was found in the cab of the truck so Tannie thought maybe he went to their camper to get the propane tank.

Tannie learned that a bloody blanket and a sewage pipe hose from the camper was also in Devin’s truck. Tannie knew about the sewage pipe hose in the bed of Devin’s truck. Tannie would also learn that in addition to the stab wounds on Devin, he allegedly hooked the sewage pipe hose from the tailpipe of his truck to the opening in the back window of the truck. The opening around the pipe in the back window was sealed with the bloody blanket. In addition to the hose running from the tailpipe to the back window, they found the propane tank sitting in the cab of the truck with the nozzle wide open. The emergency line had been cut allowing the propane gas to escape. Devin knew the propane tanks at the camper were low on fuel.

Tannie’s head has been spinning with theories since the death of her husband. The crime scene description given to her by the volunteers, the CID investigative report, and the evidence she has personally witnessed and still has in her possession do not add up. The Army CID wants Tannie to believe that Devin committed suicide. Tannie is to believe that her husband who left the house to maybe get propane for dinner and was planning on building a doghouse, took off for a couple days and then killed himself. In the end, according to the investigative report, Devin stabbed himself nine times, ran a hose from his tailpipe through the back window of his truck, and put the propane tank he needed for his meal on wide open in an attempt to blow the truck up? If the blanket was bloody, does that mean it was used to seal the window after the self-inflicted stabbing was unsuccessful?

Why would Devin change his mind about dying by self inflicted stabbing and then hook up the sewage pipe so that he could die by carbon monoxide? Was there a blood trail outside the truck? How common is it to stab yourself while dying by carbon dioxide and propane fuel? Is it possible that he was wrapped up in the blanket during the course of a stabbing frenzy by a known or unknown attacker? Tannie believes all these discrepancies alone warrant an independent investigation and ultimately she wants her husband’s death investigated as a murder. It doesn’t add up with his plans for that evening with dinner and the doghouse. It doesn’t add up when you read through the reports and compare the narrative to the witnesses first hand testimony and the evidence found on Devin’s belongings and his vehicle.

Tannie Schuette Wants Truth & Justice for Her Husband Devin

Tannie believes her husband was murdered and she wants justice for Devin. She feels that he was most likely stabbed and knocked out with a head injury. She believes the attacker was most likely known to Devin because the nine stab wounds were overkill. In other stabbing cases, the attacker quickly realizes that sometimes it can take multiple stabs to kill someone. It is up close and personal. And in this case, if Devin was knocked out, this person could have easily set up the scene to look like a suicide to cover up a murder. As soon as Devin lost conscienceness yet still wasn’t dead after nine stab wounds, the attacker was most likely tired. If the attacker was someone on the post, they were most likely motivated by the fact that the Army wants to rule deaths on post as suicides. This is evidenced by the multiple suspicious deaths at Fort Hood over the last couple years starting with Devin Schuette.

If you do the research, you will learn that it is very rare for those who are suicidal to stab themselves let alone use carbon monoxide and propane fuel. You will find that if they do die by stabbing, there are multiple hesitation cuts and maybe even some cutting prior to the act itself. It takes great strength to stab yourself through the bones, muscle, and cartilage in the chest area in order to kill yourself. Multiple stab wounds are more likely to come from an attacker than inflicted on yourself. Defensive wounds help tell the story. Lastly, Devin was affected by an attempted suicide in the family. The whole family was affected by it and are thankful this family member is alive today. Devin knew the devastation it caused the family and that alone made him mindful of the aftermath of suicide.

A propane tank was recovered at the scene. Tannie doesn’t know if Devon fetched this propane tank from their camper. And if he did, he knew all their propane tanks were low on fuel so why use it as an alternative way to kill himself? What was the point of the propane tank in the suicide equation? Was the vehicle running, the heat on full blast and the propane tank on wide open an attempt to create an explosion? The Army CID said they finger printed the truck but found no good prints. None? Really, not even Devin and his family members as if the vehicle was wiped clean inside and out? How is that possible? Why would Devin wipe prints clean from the truck? What’s the motivation to wipe prints in a suicide? The Army CID told Tannie they didn’t fingerprint Devin’s phone. They said it was located under the passenger’s seat but in pictures it was on the passenger seat. The knife was also in the passenger seat in photos but Tannie says the Army CID told her the knife was in Devin’s hands. Tannie’s thinking “these people are supposed to be professionals?”

If Tannie can find this many holes and discrepancies in the investigation report and her conversations with Army CID versus what witnesses observed and physical evidence reveals, how good was this investigation to begin with? Was it simply investigated as a suicide and homicide was never even considered? Tannie believes the system is a vocabulary manipulation from the beginning to end. Tannie learned after connecting with other family members that she’s not the only one questioning suicide as the cause of death at Fort Hood but the investigators tell everyone the same thing. And to add insult to injury, some family members were not allowed to view the body at the funeral home. As a matter of fact, Devin’s body was guarded by Army personnel as well to prevent anyone from looking at the body. Tannie shared that the funeral director opened Devin’s casket for her late one night in what felt like a secretive mission. This is when she observed Devin was wrapped up like a mummy. No foul play suspected?

The Army’s Response is Always the Same

Tannie considered going to the media with her concerns but is afraid that again, the news agencies will create a narrative based on the Army’s version of events and not tell the whole story. She knows they only have so much space and in order for the reader to understand the totality of the circumstances, they need all the information, not a sixteenth of it wrapped up with canned responses from the public affairs office at Fort Hood. This is about finding the truth and justice for Devin not creating a narrative that continues to make the institution look like the authority on these issues. The families deserve a space to tell their truth.

Tannie lives with the memories of Devin hanging up pictures and settling into their home on post, Devin chopping up vegetables so he could make them a new recipe the night he disappeared, Devin wanting to build a doghouse with his kids, and Devin taking care of his health in an effort to get better and continue his career in the Army. Tannie has known Devin since she was twelve years old. They grew up together and were friends long before they started a relationship. As a matter of fact, Devin was best friend’s with Tannie’s oldest brother. Devin and Tannie were in a committed relationship for twelve years when he died. Tannie probably knows Devin better than anyone and ultimately she is the authority.

Tannie thinks Devin may have left the house to get propane at the camper. He was probably taking a ride to get some peace which may be why he wanted the kids to go play and visit with their friends. Devin went through an attempted suicide with Tannie’s family. The family member almost died but someone found him just in time. This family member was in the ICU for a month and Devin comforted his best friend and his wife through the ordeal. Tannie shared that Devin reached out to his command with his medical concerns right before Christmas leave. He talked to his First Sergeant for about an hour. What if he told him something that was a red flag? Did the First Sergeant now see him as a problem and no longer useful to the team?

So Many Unanswered Questions & Things That Don’t Add Up

Why did the Army CID clear out Devin’s phone so Tannie couldn’t see what happened in the days leading up to his death? Tannie knew Devin didn’t wipe his phone or delete things because he wasn’t very good with computers or the phone. They joked about how he referred to himself as a ‘dumb grunt’ who let the soldiers who are geniuses do that stuff. Devin didn’t even know how to erase history but the history was cleared. Tannie reports the Army CID has no desire to get a warrant to obtain the cell phone records that could tell a digital story. Did he chat with others? Did he make any phone calls? Was his phone active the entire time? Did at some point the battery die? Did he do any google searches?

All of these things are relevant to the investigation. As a matter of a fact, any conversations prior to his death could lead one to persons of interests and witnesses. Was he lured to Liberty Hill road? Was he supposed to meet someone? Where was he for two days? These are all logical questions when trying to figure out the victimology; their own words, thoughts, and behaviors tie into the investigation. Tannie feels defeated after realizing it appeared the Army didn’t want to do the work to find Devin or find out what happened to him. Most of the Army personnel involved in this case can’t even look at her and appear to get defensive when she questions them.

Tannie feels like the Army gives families just enough momentary satisfaction and then does something else to distract them. Tannie believes Army investigators create a narrative. She feels like Army personnel give them answers that will suppress any further questions. Some families want all the details to know how it fits together. It’s normal to want to know what happened to your loved one. It’s normal to want to see the body of your loved one. It’s inhumane to keep a family from seeing the body of their loved one even if they can’t have an open casket. Currently, the Army decides whether it is open casket or not, whether the family can see the body or not, and if questioned, will make sure there are Army personnel at the funeral home to ensure families don’t see the body. Why wasn’t a family member asked to identify the body?

Why Does the US Army Control the Funeral Arrangements?

Army CID told Tannie Devin’s body was too far gone therefore no open casket. But Tannie knew that wasn’t true given how quickly they found Devin after he died. Decomposition was not an issue at this time. She wondered “what are they hiding?” Who goes to those kinds of lengths to keep you from seeing the body of your loved one? Everyone was denied access to see Devin’s body. And anyone that did see his body was hauled into Army CID. Tannie wanted to see that her husband was in that casket. Even the funeral director questioned the Army’s decision to have a closed casket and no viewing of the body. He told Tannie there was nothing wrong with the body. They learned the request came from the Department of the Army in Washington DC.

Department of Army told the Army CID and the CAO it was to be a closed casket and that was that. Some families may not want the details and that’s okay. Both ways are okay but for a family that gets inconsistencies throughout the process, wanting to know the truth and getting justice for their loved one is paramount. Soldiers may have learned not to question the institution but by no means does a family member or a veteran have to accept their canned responses and narratives. Tannie wants Devin’s death investigated and the case solved if in fact this is a homicide. And after what she has learned from other families it appears suspicious that when a soldier admits to medical issues they then become a problem and die?

Tannie has every right to be concerned that anyone who admits to issues like Post Traumatic Stress may be picked on, isolated, can’t do anything right, hazed, belittled, and more. After awhile, the soldier may even start believing they are a piece of shit. What kind of response did Devin get when he told his Command about his medical issues? Tannie says none of the programs at Fort Hood are working and it’s all a big waste of money. She admits that she too sought the assistance of counselors at Fort Hood but they didn’t appear to deal well with her candidness and openness. She was processing the confusing death of her beloved husband, they sat there in silence not acknowledging the toxic environment they are a part of.

Areas of Concern:

  • Waiting to report that a soldier is missing, yet lists them AWOL
  • Family knows when there is a cause for concern
  • If piece of equipment goes missing, then lockdown
  • When child or elder goes missing, it’s taken seriously
  • If a soldier goes missing, consider serious especially if there if previously noted mental health diagnosis or concerns
  • If a soldier visits mental health, are they treated differently because of the visit and/or the diagnosis?
  • How many cases have we witnessed where a soldier has gone missing, but is considered AWOL, yet later show up dead?
  • Has anyone considered that it’s hurts a man’s pride to go AWOL because they are suffering from some kind of mental health breakdown?
  • Men, especially military men, are trained to think “I’m not supposed to be weak”
  • Spouse felt like CID investigation report did not reflect her account of what happened, report had lots of discrepancies, and she felt dismissed as if they were not even listening to her; they said photos in report blacked out Devin’s body to protect her
  • Do the Texas Rangers have jurisdiction of the land owned by the Cattle Rancher’s Association? If so, will they conduct an investigation alongside, not with, Fort Hood investigators?
  • Did the Commander coordinate with the military police located at the scene? If so, is it protocol to point a gun at a military spouse who just found out her husband was dead?
  • Why did Tannie’s children learn about their dad’s death on social media? How did this happen? How can we prevent it from happening again?
  • Why was the bloody handprint on Devin’s clothing not significant to investigators? Why was it not tested?
  • It appears they did no forensic testing at all. If so, why did they rule a suicide?
  • Tannie observed that the first note she was allowed to read in the presence of military personnel was not the same note found in official investigative report
  • Tannie observed the handwriting on the first suicide note did not look like Devin’s handwriting; the handwriting on the second suicide note did look like Devin’s but was ruled inconclusive
  • Tannie questioned the Army CID about the note found in the official investigative report because this one did look like Devin’s handwriting, unlike the first note she read a couple days after he died; she also observed the second note was on different paper and wanted to know how they could account for the discrepancies; Where is the original note? How do we get it released for forensic examination?
  • Tannie received pictures of the crime scene that were blacked out to protect her; she wants copies of the original pictures to help make an assessment between what the volunteers witnessed at the scene versus what the Army CID is telling her; again, why the inconsistencies?
  • Is it possible the truck’s heater was on full blast to affect decomposition rate?
  • Is it possible to create an explosion with a propane tank leak, carbon monoxide leak, a heater blasting on high, and a vehicle running? An explosion would destroy evidence?
  • Some families may benefit from doing a FOIA for medical records and all families should FOIA the investigation report for the cause of death ruling
  • Where is the autopsy report? The autopsy report should be included with every investigation package. Does the family have to make a separate FOIA request?
  • Why does the Army get to decide whether or not the family views the body of their loved one? Why does the Army get to decide if open casket or not?

Source: Tannie Schuette (Devin Schuette’s wife)

Related Links:
Obituary: SSG Devin L. Schuette
Man found dead at Fort Hood
Army IDs soldier found dead at Fort Hood
Soldier found dead at Fort Hood identified
Soldier found dead on Fort Hood identified
Soldier who was found dead at Fort Hood identified
Fort Hood officials ID soldier who was found dead at BLORA
New Mexico man found dead at Fort Hood
Fort Hood: Clovis soldier found dead
Soldier who died at Fort Hood was from Clovis
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier: Staff Sgt. Devin Lee Schuette
Staff Sgt. Devin L. Schuette, 35, of Fort Hood died Sunday, Jan. 3
Dead soldier identified as Clovis native; Investigation continues
Army continues investigation into death of Clovis soldier
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
73 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 4 Insider Attacks & 2 Suicides Overseas; 67 Stateside Deaths Including 34 Alleged Suicides & 1 Unsolved Homicide
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook
From My Heart to Yours (YouTube)
Military Spouse and Widow Tannie Schuette Live Facebook (video)


“One of the most difficult situations I have ever faced in my life. Please share this video with everyone and anyone you can.” -Devin Schuette

Air Force SrA Katrina Jackson Died of Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound at Joint-Base Elmendorf-Richardson (2014)

USAF Seal

SrA Katrina Jackson, US Air Force

Air Force SrA Katrina Jackson, 22, of Universal City, Texas died from injuries sustained from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Alaska on February 15, 2014. SrA Jackson joined the Air Force in 2010 and was stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in 2011 where she was assigned as a patrolman with the 673rd Security Forces Squadron. Media reports indicate that the circumstances surrounding her death were investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI). SrA Jackson was one of four servicemen from JBER found dead this month: Army Sgt. Okan Cetinbag on February 11; and SSgt. Darian Miller on February 18; and SSgt. Samuel Davis on February 23.

Related Links:
Senior Airman Katrina Jackson
Airman dies on JBER
Soldier’s death marks fourth JBER fatality in a month
JBER airman’s passing marks fourth death in February
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska (Army & Air Force)

Air Force Major Melissa Birtzer Found Dead at Eglin Air Force Base Range, No Foul Play Suspected (2012)

Honoring Major Melissa Birtzer @USAirForce (2012)

Major Melissa Birtzer, US Air Force

Air Force Major Melissa Birtzer, 42, went missing from the Fort Walton Beach area in Florida on November 17, 2012.  A few days later on Nov 20th, Major Birtzer was found dead at the Eglin Air Force Base range. The USAF reported that the case was under investigation and then updated the public with the announcement that there was no foul play suspected. The official cause of death is unknown but was not ruled a homicide. Co-workers shared she may have been ‘depressed’ prior to her disappearance. Major Birtzer served honorably for 18 years first as an enlisted Intelligence Specialist and then as a Nurse. She also completed two tours in Afghanistan. Melissa is survived by a spouse and two children.

Related Links:
Melissa Birtzer Obituary
Missing Hurlburt Major Found Dead
Melissa Ann Birtzer Discovered Three Days After Disappearance from Fort Walton Beach Home

SSG Jessica Wing, US Army, Died of a Non Combat Related Incident in Kuwait City, Kuwait (2012)

Jessica Wing, US Army (2012)

SSG Jessica Wing, US Army

SSG Jessica Wing, US Army, died of a non combat related incident in Kuwait City, Kuwait on August 27, 2012. SSG Jessica Wing was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Maine Army National Guard in Bangor, Maine. According to the Department of Defense, the incident is under investigation.

“The tags belonged to Staff Sgt. Jessica Wing, 42, who took her own life on Aug. 27, 2012, in Kuwait while serving with the 126th Aviation Medevac Unit, based in Bangor. It was her sixth deployment. With 23 years of military duty, she spent nearly all of her adult years in uniform.” -Bangor Daily News

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Staff Sgt. Jessica Wing
Maine Soldier Dies in Kuwait
Virginia soldier SSG Jessica Wing dies in Kuwait
Funeral held for helicopter crew chief from Maine
Remembering fallen Maine soldier Staff Sgt. Jessica Wing
‘We need to do everything we can’: In culture shift, Maine National Guard opens up about suicide prevention
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)

LCpl Hollye Meeks, USMC (2012)

Honoring LCpl Hollye Meeks @USMC (2012)

Photo by: Staff Sgt. Raymie G. Cruz

Honoring LCpl Hollye Meeks, USMC, 25, Died June 1, 2012

“Lance Cpl. Hollye K. Meeks (left) searches Cpl. Roxanne Cox, after receiving a class on the proper procedures from members of a police transition team. Eight female Marines from different units within 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing volunteered for the Lioness Program to conduct security searches of women crossing into Iraq. Meeks is a motor transport vehicle operator, Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd MAW, and a Houston, Texas native. Cox is a maintenance management specialist, with Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd MAW, and a Cincinnati native.” (22 Aug 2006)

Related Links:
Lance Cpl. Hollye K. Meeks searches Cpl. Roxanne Cox
Female Marines train for Iraq border security
Marines Dodging Death: Sixty-Two Accounts of Close Calls
Hollye Krystine Meeks Obituary