Violent Crime, Non Combat Death, and Suicide at Camp Pendleton, California (US Marine Corps)

USMC

*Research not complete and includes combat deaths.

2017:

Laurel Chasmar, US Marine Corps Veteran: Died in murder-suicide, New Jersey
John Deshaies, Canadian Citizen: Suspect in homicide of Marine & GF in Belize
Drew DeVoursney, US Marine Corps Veteran: Homicide victim in Belize, unsolved
Cody Haley, US Marine Corps: Died after tree fell on him during physical training
Francesca Matus, Civilian: Homicide victim in Belize, unsolved

2016:

Oscar Aguilar, Civilian: Accused of homicide of US Marine, awaiting trial
Esau Rios, Civilian: Accused of homicide of US Marine, awaiting trial
Carlos Segovia, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim in Los Angeles
Ricky Valente, Civilian: Accused of accessory after the fact, homicide of US Marine, awaiting trial

2015:

Sergio Medina, US Marine Corps Veteran: Robbery & physical assault, 6 years
Leonardo Ortiz, US Marine Corps Veteran: Robbery & physical assault, 3 years
Rodrigo Sanchez, US Marine Corps Veteran: Robbery & physical assault, 3 years
Dominic Schraft, US Marine Corps: Found dead with gunshot wound on base

2014:

Erin Corwin, US Marine Corps Spouse: Pregnant, Homicide Victim
Emilio Harvey, Civilian: Homicide victim, child
Christopher Lee, US Marine Corps: Homicide of Erin Corwin, Sentenced to Life
Stanford Morocho, US Marine Corps Veteran: Homicide, sentenced to 15 yrs to life
Sean Neal, US Marine Corps: Non-combat related incident, Iraq

2013:

Alvin Bulaoro, US Army Reserve: Homicide victim
Kevin Coset, US Marine Corps: Accused of homicide, awaiting trial
Karen Lange, Civilian: Attempted murder by AWOL Pendleton Marine
Mathew Marsh, US Marine Corps: Training accident, EOD explosion on base
Gregory Mullins, US Marine Corps: Training accident, EOD explosion on base
David Oppelt, US Army Spouse: Suspected of homicide, under investigation
Imelda Oppelt, US Army Guard Reserve: Homicide victim, death by hanging
Miguel Ortiz, US Marine Corps: Training accident, EOD explosion on base
Eric Summers, US Marine Corps: Training accident, EOD explosion on base

2012:

Clayton Beauchamp, US Navy: Unit attacked with IED, Afghanistan
John Berry, Civilian: Homicide victim of deceased Marine veteran Itzcoatl Ocampo
Amyjane Brandhagen, Civilian: Homicide victim of AWOL Pendleton Marine
Lukah Chang (Danny Wu), US Marine Corps: AWOL, homicide, sentenced to 35 yrs
Ryan Jeschke, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat ops, Afghanistan
Brittany Killgore, US Marine Corps Spouse: Rape & homicide victim
Matthew Manoukian, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat ops, Afghanistan
Sky Mote, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat ops, Afghanistan
Louis Perez, US Marine Corps: Rape & homicide, sentenced to life
Camella Steedley, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan

2011:

Mario Arias, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim, beat to death in barracks
Yvonne Baldelli, Civilian: Domestic violence & homicide victim in Panama
Brian Brimager, US Marine Corps Retired: Homicide, Panama, 26 yrs in prison
Raquel Estrada, Civilian: Homicide victim of dead Marine vet Itzcoatl Ocampo
Darren Evans, US Marine Corps: Homicide on base, sentenced to life
Adan Gonzales Jr, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat ops, Afghanistan
Juan Herrera, Civilian: Homicide victim of dead Marine vet Itzcoatl Ocampo
James McGillivray, Civilian: Homicide victim of dead Marine vet Itzcoatl Ocampo
Lloyd Middaugh, Civilian: Homicide victim of dead Marine vet Itzcoatl Ocampo
Itzcoatl Ocampo, US Marine Corps Veteran: Accused of 6 homicides, died in prison
Joshua Robinson, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat ops, Afghanistan
Paulus Smit, Civilian: Homicide victim of dead Marine vet Itzcoatl Ocampo

2010:

Christopher Boyd, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Max Donahue, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Daniel Fedder, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Floyd Holley, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Kevin Oratowski, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Ronald Rodriguez, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Jose Saenz III, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan

2009:

Donald Hogan, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Afghanistan

2008:

Kevin Cox, US Marine Corps: 2 homicides, sentenced to life, no parole
Stacy Dryden, US Marine Corps: Non-hostile incident, homicide, Iraq
Michael Heflin, Civilian: Beating & stabbing victim, survived
Emrys John, US Marine Corps: 2 homicides, sentenced to death
Summer Lang, US Marine Corps Spouse: Rape, torture, & kidnapping victim
Robert McClain, US Marine Corps Veteran: Rape & kidnapping, sentenced to life
Adam McKiski, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
Tyrone Miller, US Marine Corps: 2 homicides, sentenced to life, no parole
Jan Pietrzak, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim
Quiana Pietrzak, US Marine Corps Spouse: Rape & homicide victim
Kesuan Sykes, US Marine Corps: 2 homicides, sentenced to death
Stewart Trejo, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq

2007:

Jon Bonnell Jr., US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
Matthew Medlicott, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
Rogelio Ramirez, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
John Tanner, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
Michael Tayaotao, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
Cristian Vasquez, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq

2006:

Lawrence Hutchins III, US Marine Corps: Kidnapping, murder of Iraqi civilian

2005: 

Frank Wuterich, US Marine Corps: Accused of role in killing 24 unarmed Iraqis

2004:

Ryan Weemer, US Marine Corps: Acquitted in homicide of unarmed Iraqi detainee

1996:

Cassandra Corum, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, IL
Thomas Heffner, US Marine Corps: Attempted homicide victim
Lynn Huber, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, IL
Daniel Kidd, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim
Jessie Quintanilla, US Marine Corps: Homicide, sentenced to life
Laura Uylaki, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, IL

1993:

Kenneth Cook, US Marine Corps: Homicide of infant child, sentenced to life
Tiffani Cook, US Marine Corps Dependent: Homicide victim
Denise Maney, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA

1992:

Marilyn Allen, Civilian: Homicide victim, cold case, solved
Jennifer Asbenson, Civilian: Rape & abduction by Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA
Roosevelt Gipson, US Marine Corps: Manslaughter, sentenced to 11 yrs in prison

1991:

Lindell Mitchell, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim, cold case, solved

1989:

Tammie Erwin, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA

1988:

Julie McGhee, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA
Mary Ann Wells, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA

1986:

Robbin Brandley, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA
Andrew Urdiales, US Marine Corps: Homicide of 8 women, sentenced to death

1985:

Kathleen Allen, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Lonnie Bond, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Michael Carroll, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Jeff Gerald, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Brenda O’Connor, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Cliff Peranteau, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Robert Scott Stapley: Missing, homicide victim

1984:

Richard Carrazza, Civilian: Attempted homicide victim
Paul Cosner, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Deborah Dubs, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Harvey Dubs, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Sean Dubs, Civilian: Missing child, homicide victim
Donald Giulietti, Civilian: Homicide victim

1983:

Charles Gunnar, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim

1982:

Charles Ng, US Marine Corps Veteran: Multiple rapes & 12 homicides, sentenced to death
Donald Lake, US Army Veteran: Missing, homicide victim
Leonard Lake, US Marine Corps Veteran: Multiple rapes & homicide, committed suicide

1980:

Eugene Brunelle, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim
Roy Garcia, US Marine Corps: Homicide of Marine, sentenced to 20 yrs to life

Related Links:
Seven Marines, Navy corpsman charged with murder in Iraqi civilian’s death

Marine Corps Veteran Laurel Chasmar Shot to Death Outside New Jersey Home by Ex-Boyfriend Hassan Shahid in Apparent Murder-Suicide (2017)

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Laurel Chasmar, US Marine Corps Veteran

Marine Corps veteran Laurel Chasmar, 28, was shot and killed outside her Morris Plains, New Jersey home on August 5, 2017. Laurel was apparently in a relationship at one point with Hassan Shahid, 32, who is accused of her murder. Hassan Shahid of Jersey City was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Morris township after he allegedly killed Laurel. According to reports, Laurel and Hassan worked together at one of the Novartis facilities in New Jersey and dated for a time but it appears Chasmar ended things and then complained to the police that he was harassing her.

Related Links
Man, Woman Found Dead In Possible Murder-Suicide In Morris County, Sources Say
Two dead identified in Morris Plains murder-suicide
Authorities identify pair killed in apparent murder-suicide
Marine gunned down by her ex-boyfriend outside NJ home, officials say
Mayor: Morris Plains murder victim dated, then complained of ‘harassment’ by shooter
Slain Morris Plains woman, a Marine Corps veteran, had made complaints against killer
Marine shot to death by ex-boyfriend tried to flee her killer, mayor says
Slain Morris Plains Woman Complained About Harassment By Shooter: Reports

The Pendulum Has Swung: Defending Yourself Against False Allegations in Senator Claire McCaskill’s Military Justice System

If you or someone you know has been falsely accused of a crime,
please contact Save Our Heroes.

This animated video describes the obstacles faced by military members who are wrongly or falsely accused of sexual assault. From the recent changes to the UCMJ to the barriers built around the alleged victim, wrongly and falsely accused service members face an uphill battle defending themselves. Court-martial defense lawyer Will M. Helixon, with decades of experience as a sex crimes prosecutor, can team with the military detailed counsel to level the playing field and defend the rights of the wrongly and falsely accused. (www.helixongroup.com)

Learn more: Letter of Support for Save Our Heroes in Our Shared Quest for Military Justice Reform & Constitutional Rights

Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non-Combat Death at Fort Bliss, Texas (US Army)

Fort-Bliss-Hospital10

*Research not complete and includes combat deaths.

2017:

Adam Acosta, US Army Veteran: Accused of Homicide
John Barcellano, US Army: Fatal Motorcyle Accident
Tyler Croke, US Army: Homicide Victim
Riley Gast, US Army: Found Dead in Desert, Cause of Death Unknown
Zachary Johnston, US Army Veteran: Accused of Homicide
Hansen Kirkpatrick, US Army: Indirect Fire Attack, Afghanistan
Brandon Olsen, US Army: Accused of Homicide
John Rodriguez, US Army: Non-Combat Related Incident, Kuwait

2016:

Anthony Bowden, US Army: Accused of Homicide
Eric Duvall, US Army: Accused of Homicide
Tyler Hall, US Army: Accused of Homicide
Melvin Jones, US Army: AWOL, Missing, Found
Dante Naken Dewayne Long, US Army: Homicide Victim
Ronald Murray, Jr., US Army: Non-Combat Death, Vehicle Accident, Kuwait
Jake Obad-Mathis, US Army: AWOL, Missing, Found
MG John Rossi, US Army: Death Rule Suicide
Audi Sumilat, US Army: Guilty of Gun Smuggling; Final Disposition Unknown
Devon Ward, US Army: AWOL, Missing, Found Dead
Aaron Wolfe, US Army Veteran: Passed Away Unexpectedly

2015:

Gabriel Benavidez, Civilian: Victim of Physical Assault
Andrew Budd, US Army: Found Dead in Home, Cause of Death Unknown
Dr. Timothy Fjordbak, Veterans Affairs: Homicide Victim
Deric Joyce, US Army (2015): Pleaded Guilty to Aggravated Battery Resulting in Great Bodily Harm
Jerry Serrato, US Army Veteran: Homicide, Suicide
Jonathan Wynkoop, US Army: Died in Training Exercise

2014:

Christina Bukovcik, US Army: Homicide Victim
Devon Huerta-Person, US Army: Charged with Aggravated Assault
Dartarious Graham, US Army: Homicide, Sentenced to 40 Years
Peyton Graham, US Army Dependent: Homicide Victim
Geomel Shaffa, US Army: Homicide of Spouse, Sentenced to 50 Years

2013:

Jackson Farrey, US Army Dependent: Homicide victim
Jeffrey Farrey, US Army: Homicide, sentenced to 20 years
Jenna Farrey, US Army Spouse: Homicide, sentenced to 35 years
Troy Kent, US Army: Fatal automobile accident
Corey Moss, US Army: Attempted murder, sentenced to 30 years
Rachel Poole, US Army Spouse: Victim of attempted homicide
Timothy Santos Jr., US Army: Non combat related illness, Kuwait
Mariza Shaffa, US Army Spouse: Victim of attempted homicide

2012:

James Brown, US Army: Died While in Jail for DWI Charge
Malachi Cosby, US Army Dependent: Homicide Victim
Crispen Hanson, US Army: Homicide, Sentenced to 8 Years
Francisco Perez, US Army: Homicide, Afghanistan, Sentenced to 15 Months
Neil Turner, US Army: Homicide Victim, Afghanistan
Shawn Williams, US Army: Court of Criminal Appeals Decision

2011:

Kelvin Gooding, US Army: Homicide Victim
Lykisha Gooding, US Army: Homicide Victim
Alex Jaime, US Army: Homicide Victim
Zareef Saleel, US Army: Homicide of Alex Jaime, Sentenced to Life in Prison
James Steadman, US Army: Homicide of 2 Soldiers; Shot & Killed by Woman

2010:

Robert Nichols, US Army: Suicide

2009:

Michael Apodaca, US Army: Homicide, Sentenced to Life
Cassaundra Beckel, US Army: Homicide Victim by Spouse
Kevin Beckel, US Army: Homicide of Spouse, Suicide
Jacob Engle, US Army: Accidental Shooting Death
Gerald Polanco, US Army: Accused of Homicide, Incompetent to Stand Trial
Thelton Riley, Civilian: Homicide, Sentenced to 30 Years
Leesa Trujillo, Civilian: Injury to Child & Involuntary Manslaughter, Sentenced to 10 Years
Justin Weckel, US Army: Suspected Suicide
Keiffer Wilhelm, US Army: Non combat related incident, suicide, Iraq

2008:

Clinton Lewis, US Army Spouse: Accused of Kidnapping, Rape & Stabbing Wife; Final Disposition Unknown
Jeneesa Lewis, US Army: Kidnapped, Stabbed & Raped but Found Alive

2007:

John Fish, US Army: Suspected Suicide

2003:

Jamaal Addison, US Army: Killed in Ambush, Iraq
Robert Dowdy, US Army: Killed in Ambush, Iraq
Ruben Estrella-Soto, US Army: Killed in Ambush, Iraq
Edgar Hernandez, US Army: POW, Iraq, Rescued by USMC
Joseph Hudson, US Army: POW, Iraq, Rescued by USMC
Howard Johnson II, US Army: Killed in Ambush, Iraq
Shoshana Johnson, US Army: POW, Iraq, Rescued by USMC
James Kiehl, US Army: Killed in Ambush, Iraq
Jessica Lynch, US Army: POW, Iraq, Rescued by USMC
Johnny Mata, US Army: Killed in Ambush, Iraq
Patrick Miller, US Army: POW, Iraq, Rescued by USMC
Lori Piestewa, US Army: Killed in Ambush, Iraq
James Riley, US Army: POW, Iraq, Rescued by USMC
Brandon Sloan, US Army: Killed in Ambush, Iraq
Donald Walters, US Army: Killed in Ambush, Iraq

2001:

Lynn Reister, US Army: Homicide Victim
Roger Reister, US Army: Homicide of Capt. Lynn Reister for SGLI

2000:

Luis Rodriguez-Martinez, US Army: Suicide or Murder?

1991:

Anthony Riggs, US Army: Homicide Victim

1984:

Nathan Craig, US Army: Homicide Victim
Willie Jackson, US Army: Homicide, Suicide

1979:

Vernon Shearer, US Army: Homicide Victim

1977:

Chester Garrett, US Army: Homicide Victim
Andrew Heard, US Army: 2 Homicides, Sentenced to 15-55 Years in Prison after Released from 4 Years in Prison for Murder of German Woman
Ralph Sigler, US Army: Suicide or Murder?

1944:

Cecil Cash, US Army: Homicide Victim, War Crime

Related Links:
8 missing soldiers identified as dead
Iraq War 2003: Attack On Fort Bliss’ 507th Maintenance Company
As a Brigade Returns Safe, Some Meet New Enemies
Army investigates radiation exposure at Fort Bliss
General’s remarks about suicide “upsetting”
At Army base, an aggressive campaign against suicide
At A Texas Base, Battling Army’s Top Threat: Suicide
Military Experts: With ISIS in El Paso, Ft. Bliss in Danger of Terrorist Attack
Murders Up, but El Paso Still Safe, Lawmakers Say
Pentagon has struggled with a jump in child abuse in military families since America went to war
General with Bliss ties is most senior Army officer to kill self
The General Who Went to War On Suicide

Massachusetts School of Law Interviews Veteran Jennifer Norris About Violent Crime in the Military & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Massachusetts School of Law explored violent crime in the military with Jennifer Norris, Military Justice for All, and the impact it has on civilians too. Jennifer talked about her experiences with four different perpetrators within the first two years of her enlisted career, the reporting & adjudication process, and the retaliation that ensued and eventually ended a fifteen year career. Also discussed was the jurisdictional hurdles that arise with a transient population like the military. For example, Jennifer was not able to press charges against one perpetrator because he moved out of state after learning he was getting reported. Another perpetrator was active duty Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base, therefore a state National Guard commander did not have jurisdiction of a federal employee. And finally, although Jennifer was able to move forward with two other cases involving high ranking National Guard members with over eighteen years of service, unlike the civilian world, after the cases were adjudicated, they retired with full military retirement benefits and no public records.

Jennifer also shared that although the Department of Defense downplays violent crime in the military and sexual assault appears to be closely monitored by some female members of Congress, everything is not under control. The crime appears to be escalating. The military doesn’t just have a sexual assault issue, they have a domestic violence and homicide issue as well. They also have a pattern of ruling soldier’s deaths both stateside and overseas as suicides, training accidents, and illness despite families strongly protesting and evidence revealing otherwise. Domestic violence is more likely to lead to homicide and unfortunately the two issues have not been given the attention they deserve because until you do the research yourself and see how many families and communities have been impacted by the crimes, suspicious death, and homicide of a soldier or civilian, you wouldn’t know because Congress and the main stream media do not give it the attention it deserves. Homicide and independent investigations of all suspicious deaths should be given the highest priority not only because people have lost their lives and families deserve answers but because someone needs to be held accountable. We must prevent others from becoming victims of these crimes too.

Jennifer discussed the lasting impacts the crimes and retaliation had on her. Jennifer was empowered after doing all that she could do to protect others from getting harmed by the same people, but her squadron did not see it the same way. After the cases were adjudicated, Jennifer faced hostility from a couple of the perpetrator’s friends and her Chain of Command once she returned back to work. She eventually had to transfer to another squadron. It was the professional and personal retaliation that made her start feeling more intense feelings of anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. And unfortunately her next squadron wasn’t any more welcoming then the last. She was told shortly after arriving that ‘no female makes it in the satellite communications work center’ and that she was experiencing hostility from her new Chain of Command because the old squadron called and informed them she was a ‘troublemaker.’ The retaliation had a direct impact on her mental health and cemented an already traumatizing experience with further abuse, indifference, and judgement. By the time she got to her third squadron (almost ten years after the first attack), she learned that the Department of Veterans Affairs treated Post Traumatic Stress resulting from military sexual trauma.

After Jennifer informed her third squadron that she was getting help for the PTS at the Department of Veterans Affairs, she was immediately red flagged and asked to leave the squadron until she could produce a note from her doctor giving her permission to be at work. She did this and jumped through the other hoops asked of her in an attempt to save her career but lost confidentiality in the process. Jennifer walked away from her career in the end because she refused to release her VA records for a security clearance investigation. The entire experience not only opened her up to judgement again (simply because she asked for some counseling due to what someone else did) but she had to prove that she was ‘fit for duty’ while the perpetrators were enjoying full military retirement benefits. Jennifer chose a second chance at a civilian career when she refused to release her confidential VA records for her security clearance investigation because she wanted to ensure a future free of a tainted security clearance. It makes zero sense that someone who is a victim of crime be negatively impacted by the crimes of others in yet another way. The hypocrisy of the system is truly revealed when you look at how the perpetrators were let off the hook but the victim of crime loses their military career because they had the strength to first report and then eventually ask for help.

Reward Offered for Armed and Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2016)

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John Blauvelt, US Army

Active duty US Army recruiter John Blauvelt is a wanted fugitive by the US Marshals Service (USMS) for the murder of his estranged wife Catherine Blauvelt on October 26, 2016 in South Carolina. After allegedly murdering his wife, John Blauvelt fled the state with another young female who was later found safe in Eugene, Oregon. The USMS considers Blauvelt armed and dangerous and suspects that he is located somewhere on the west coast. According to the USMS, any information leading directly to John Blauvelt’s capture is eligible for a reward of up to $2,500. Please contact the USMS tip line at 1-800-336-0102 or by email at usms.wanted@usdoj.gov.

Related Links:
Police say accused wife-killer threatened wife months ago
Simpsonville woman’s estranged husband wanted for her murder
Warrant: Man charged with murder after wife found dead, may be traveling with 17-year-old
Missing SC teen could be with man accused of murdering his wife, police say
Missing teen found in Eugene
U.S. Marshals seeking murder suspect
U.S. Marshals searching for murder suspect
Army deserter wanted for murder may be in Oregon
Army deserter wanted for wife’s murder may be in Oregon
Marshals: South Carolina murder suspect hiding in western U.S.
Marshals: Army deserter wanted for S.C. murder ‘could be anywhere along the West Coast’
U.S. Army Deserter Suspected of Killing Wife May Come to San Diego
Manhunt for Army deserter accused of killing wife in South Carolina
Manhunt for Army deserter who ‘killed his estranged wife in South Carolina then ran off with his 17-year-old girlfriend’
Reward Offered for Armed and Dangerous Fugitive Army Recruiter
US Marshals offer reward for information about US soldier suspected of murdering wife
Police release 911 calls, details about couple’s troubled past amid ongoing murder investigation
Suspected Killer on the Run via Crime Watch Daily
Manhunt Underway for Veteran Suspected in Wife’s Murder (Part 1)
Manhunt Underway for Veteran Suspected in Wife’s Murder (Part 2)
New Security Footage in Search For ‘Armed and Dangerous’ Fugitive Army Recruiter
Army Most Wanted Fugitives: John Tufton Blauvelt


Cati Blauvelt, 22, was left to die alone in terror. Now, her husband is a suspect. And he’s on the run. -Crime Watch Daily

Army Doctor Col. Dennis Taylor Attempted to Kill Wife Carol in an Effort to Escape Domestic Abuse and Threats to Commander After Asking for Divorce

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Army Col. Dennis Taylor was court martialed at Fort Carson, Colorado and found guilty by a jury of ten off his peers for the attempted murder of his wife Carol. (Photo credit: Investigation Discovery)

Lt Joe Kenda of Homicide Hunter featured another case where he was tasked with investigating what hospital officials suspected was an attempted murder. Upon arrival at the hospital, he was bombarded by the press because they heard the call for service over the scanner. The hospital was secure and police officers were on the scene. Upon an initial briefing, Lt Kenda discovered that a nurse suspected that someone had tampered with one of their patient’s IVs. Lt Kenda then interviewed Carol Taylor, the wife of an Army officer also present at the hospital with their two children.

Lt Kenda learned that Carol had broken her leg and had developed some blood clots. She was simply visiting with her husband and children when all of a sudden the alarm on the IV infusion machine went off. And somehow the IV had been pulled from her arm. Lt Kenda immediately began to suspect that someone was trying to kill her because it looked like someone had either tampered with or inserted something into the IV line. Because the crime lab was not proficient in the hospital’s medical equipment, they called in a hospital employee who was considered an expert. This person determined that someone had injected something into the line. The only other people in the room were her husband and children.

Lt Kenda started his next line of questioning with the husband. He learned that Lt Col Dennis Taylor served in the US Army for 27 years and was currently working as the Chief of Oral Surgery at the Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado. Lt Kenda observed that the doctor was unusually calm and appeared to be minimizing the event and brushing it off as a mistake. So then Lt Kenda went back to the wife and asked her if she thought that maybe her husband did this. The wife claimed she was fine and that everyone was making a big deal out of it and she just wanted it to go away. She claimed that they had a great marriage and life. Lt Joe Kenda had a hard time believing that her marriage was as perfect as she made it out to be and moved forward with the investigation because there was in fact liquid in the IV pump that was not supposed to be there.

Kenda reached out to a family friend who worked alongside the doctor over the years. He learned from Stan that the doctor had confided in him that Carol was verbally abusive, demeaning him, telling him he is pathetic, and even punched him. She also was upset about his drinking and knew that he had been having extra-marital affairs. Stan told Kenda that the doctor wanted to leave Carol but she had threatened to go to his commander and report him for the drinking and adultery (both considered UCMJ infractions and punishable under military law) if he left her. Carol enjoyed the privileges of being a military wife too much to lose them to divorce. He felt trapped in his current abusive marriage and was drinking more and having affairs as a way to cope with his current situation. In the civilian world, Carol would not be able to get away with threatening her husband because it is not illegal to drink and have affairs.

As it turns out, the results of the pump came back and they found Diazinon, which is a poison used to kill ants, spiders, cockroaches, etc. She would have been dead in a matter of minutes and would have been in excruciating pain, as the poison would have burned her from the inside out. As a result, Kenda arrested the doctor for attempted murder. During the arrest he found a plunged hypodermic in his pocket. The doctor told him he didn’t need an attorney and admitted his guilt. He told Kenda that earlier that morning while he was out shopping, the idea came to him that this was the only way out. Because he is a doctor, he knew how to do it. He inserted the poison and the alarm went off so he pulled the IV out of her arm for fear of arrest.

Instead of the civilians pressing forward with a case, the Army decided that they were going to court martial the doctor. They claimed they wanted to make an example of the disgraced colonel in front of a jury of his peers. He was sentenced to 18 months hard labor and he and his family were stripped of all Army privileges. And this may be why Carol Taylor protected her husband despite the fact that he just tried to kill her. Why would the Army doctor rather kill his wife then report the domestic violence to the commander? Why would the doctor feel that going to the commander was not an option and his only way out of this abusive situation was to murder his wife? Why was the doctor so intimidated by the threat of his wife reporting what would be considered minor infractions, even under UCMJ standards?

We need to evaluate why the doctor felt that he was not able to report the abuse and threatening to the Commander. Would he automatically be in trouble with military leadership if he admitted that he had been drinking and having affairs? Was he concerned about losing his career, his retirement, or facing disciplinary action? Why did he feel that he had to choose murder over reporting the threats and abuse to his commander? These are all things that we must ponder. We are seeing a pattern over and over. Our military men do not feel that reporting to the commander is an option when they are the victim of a crime. If that is the case, how can we help our military men, who find themselves the victim of threats, domestic violence, or sexual assault, report to a safe place? Right now, some would rather resort to murder then report the crimes to their commander. There must be a better way.

Related Links:
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado
Only Way Out: Army Wife Threatens to Report Doctor to Commander if He Leaves Her


When the lifeless body of Willie McCarty is found at the base of a staircase, neighbors direct Kenda to a mysterious truck spotted fleeing the scene. Then… Kenda must solve a bizarre case of poisoning at a busy downtown hospital. -Investigation Discovery

US Army Spouse Catherine Blauvelt Allegedly Murdered by Estranged Husband and Active Duty Recruiter John Blauvelt in South Carolina (2016)

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Catherine Blauvelt, US Army Spouse

Army spouse Catherine Blauvelt was allegedly murdered by her estranged husband & active duty recruiter John Blauvelt on October 26, 2016 in South Carolina. John Blauvelt fled the state shortly after the homicide with a teenager who has since been found safe. Blauvelt is considered armed and dangerous and is a fugitive on the run wanted by the US Marshals Service.

Related Links:
Body of 22-year-old woman found in abandoned house
SC woman found in abandoned cellar killed by knife, coroner says
Mother of slain Simpsonville woman releases statement
Police say accused wife-killer threatened wife months ago
Reward Offered for Armed and Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2016)

Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members

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Objective: Provide support to families who have lost loved ones to non combat death, homicide, and suicide. Prevent non combat death, homicide and suicide by providing an expedited transfer option to whistleblowers and those who feel like their lives may be in danger.

This is a small sample of the many soldiers that have died of non combat deaths, homicide, and suicide. It was hard for me to choose which ones to feature. Given the amount of families who have questioned a ruling of suicide while their loved one was serving in the US military, it’s fair to say that some suicide rulings should have a second look to determine if a homicide was ruled out. It’s important to note that if the cause of death is determined to be suicide, then the military never has to investigate again.

Brief overview of need for expedited transfers for whistleblowers in general:

John Needham and Adam Winfield had a lot in common: they both claim to have witnessed war crimes, one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan. They both wanted to report the war crimes but didn’t feel safe doing so. They both admitted to feeling like they were set up to die or participate in the war crimes. The only difference: John’s parents were able to get him out of Iraq after he started deteriorating mentally. Adam’s parents were not able to get him out of Afghanistan and he was charged with war crimes after he was set up to participate. On the Dark Side of Al Doura and the Kill Team Movie are must sees because they show the similarity in the cases and reveal how an expedited transfer option could have helped them & saved innocent civilian lives. I included a history of crime at the bases they were stationed at to demonstrate that the crime simply follows them overseas.

John Needham, Army (2008):
Retired Army Pvt John Needham Beat Girlfriend Jacqwelyn Villagomez to Death, Then Died of Overdose on Painkillers Awaiting Murder Trial
An Inside Look at Toxic Leadership in the US Army: On the Dark Side in Al Doura, Iraq
On the Dark Side in Al Doura, Iraq on YouTube
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson

Adam Winfield, Army (2010):
Army Soldier Adam Winfield Tried to Report War Crimes But Instead was Charged with War Crimes as Part of ‘The Kill Team’
PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Nominated for an Emmy
The Kill Team on Amazon Prime
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at JBLM

Would the expedited transfer option help prevent suicide or homicide in these cases?

Alyssa Peterson, Army (2003)

There were concerns that Alyssa committed suicide because she didn’t want to participate in war crimes like torture. Could her life have been saved if she felt like she had a way out? Did she commit suicide? Was homicide ruled out?

Gloria Davis, Denise Lannaman, & Marshall Gutierrez, Army (2006)

Reports indicate Gloria Davis, Army (2006) committed suicide hours after she provided names and testimony to CID investigators regarding soldiers involved in a bribery scheme in Kuwait. She was a witness to the crimes and a witness for the prosecution. Did she commit suicide? Was homicide ever considered? How could this have been prevented? She was one of 3 people in the same logistics group in Kuwait tied to the bribery scheme investigation that committed suicide. Both Denise Lannaman, Army (2006) and Lt. Col. Marshall Gutierrez, Army (2006) deaths were ruled suicides by the Army as well. Were any of these cases investigated as homicides? Did anyone question why three soldiers from Kuwait tied to one investigation killed themselves?

Suzanne Swift, Army (2006)

Suzanne refused to redeploy for a third time for fear that she would be raped or assaulted this time. She went AWOL instead & was jailed. Could this have been prevented if she had a way out of Fort Lewis? She hadn’t been raped or assaulted yet. She was trying to prevent it given the isolation in Iraq. Does the expedited transfer apply to sexual harassment situations where the offender(s) are escalating? How could we have prevented this? If you look at the history of violent crime at JBLM and in Iraq, you can clearly see why Suzanne Swift was fearful for her life. She chose life and jail over rape and murder.

Genesia Gresham, Navy (2007)

Genesia and Anamarie Camacho were victims of homicide in Bahrain. Genesia was said to have been in a casual relationship with the shooter at one point. Were there red flags prior to the murder? Was the shooters behavior escalating? Does domestic violence, harassment, and stalking qualify for an expedited transfer? Could this have been prevented if Genesia had a way out when she realized she may have been in danger? The killer was never jail but instead institutionalized for mental health issues.

Jennifer Valdivia, Navy (2007)

Jennifer was at the center of command investigation of abuse of prisoners in Bahrain. It was reported that she did not want to participate in war crimes yet was belittled, harassed, and abused by a supervisor if she didn’t do what he asked. If she had a way out, could this suicide have been prevented? Was it a suicide? Was it ever investigated as a homicide?

Kelsey Anderson, USAF (2011)

The Anderson family reported that Kelsey’s health deteriorated after she learned that she could not transfer or get out of the military while stationed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. Why did she want a transfer? Why did she want to get out of the military all of a sudden? Did something happen to make Kelsey feel the need to get out of Guam as quickly as possible? Her death was ruled a suicide. Could this have been prevented if she was allowed to transfer? The Air Force took her gun privileges away shortly after she got to Guam because of mental health concerns. They gave it back to her a month before she died.

Danny Chen, Army (2011)

Danny was being hazed and bullied by fellow soldiers in Afghanistan. Could his death have been prevented if he had a way out of this situation? Does the expedited transfer apply to scenarios where an individual is being hazed, harassed, and physically assaulted? Did Danny fear murder? How could this have been prevented so Danny didn’t feel like suicide was the only way out?

Ciara Durkin, Mass Army National Guard (2007)

Ciara found discrepancies in the finance office in Afghanistan & feared that she made enemies. She asked her family to investigate if anything happened to her while she was overseas. Could we have saved Ciara’s life if once she realized that crimes may have been committed, she could leave and then safely report? Ciara was a witness to crime yet had to remain in the setting. Do expedited transfers apply to those who want to report crimes yet cannot do so safely in an isolated location?

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I researched the non combat deaths of female soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas. I was alarmed by what I learned. It appears that close to 30% of the deaths of female soldiers in Iraq alone are from homicide, suicide, or unknown causes. I am working on doing the same research for male soldiers but have been overwhelmed with the number of non combat deaths of male soldiers. I am starting with 2010 to 2016. Then will focus energy on 2001 to 2010.

Non Combat Death of Female Soldiers:
Iraq
Afghanistan
Other Areas

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There are many cold cases in the military. The Army has the most cold cases. This list is a small sample of the cold cases in the military. Each case has the same theme. The families feel like they can’t get cooperation from the military to figure out what happened to their loved one. The families are devastated by the loss and traumatized further by the indifference, lack of support, and bureaucracy. If the homicide occurred on a base, they have nowhere to turn but the military because of federal jurisdiction issues. Most civilian cold case investigators ask for other investigators to take a look at cases to give them a fresh set of eyes. New investigators can add additional expertise to help find answers and give families closure. Two must see documentaries highlighting some of the major issues with investigations in the military are The Tillman Story (Pat Tillman) and The Silent Truth (LaVena Johnson).

Cold Cases:
Gorden Hess, Army (1998)
Col Philip Shue (2003)
Lavena Johnson, Army (2005)
Tina Priest, Army (2006)
Kamisha Block, Army (2007)
Benjamin Griego, Army NG (2007)
Seteria Brown, Army (2008)
Stacy Dryden, USMC (2008)
Blanca Luna, USAF (2008)
Keisha Morgan, Army (2008)
Cherie Morton, Navy (2008)
BG Thomas Tinsley, USAF (2008)
Anton Phillips, Army (2009)
Amy Seyboth-Tirador (2009)
Katherine Morris, Army Spouse (2012)
Sean Wells, Army (2013)
Virginia Caballero, Army (2014)

Cases Solved by NCIS Cold Case Squad:
Lt Verle Hartley, Navy (1982)
Andrew Muns, Navy (1968)

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Other Areas of Concern:
David Dickson, US Army (1984) Tracking criminal behavior world wide
Kathleen Lipscomb, USAF spouse (1986) Jurisdiction Issues
Walter Smith, USMC (2006) Use of PTSD defense/stigma
Maria Lauterbach, USMC (2007) Expedited Transfer Policy
Jennifer Cole, Army (2008) Accountability/Investigations
Holley Wimunc, US Army (2008) Domestic Violence/Military Role
Morganne McBeth, Army (2010) Sentencing/Negligent Homicide
Mikayla Bragg, Army (2011) Mental Health/Suicide/Personnel Records
Kelli Bordeaux, Army (2012) Sex offender registry/Army role
Michelle Miller, Army (2013) Accountability of those in positions of power
Shadow McClaine, Army (2016) DV & attempted murder prior to homicide
Cati Blauvelt, US Army spouse (2016) DV/Accountability/Fugitives
Army Reserve Veteran Micah Johnson Murdered Five Dallas Police Officers (2016)
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for the SGLI
5 Service Members Currently on Military Death Row at Leavenworth
The US Military Recruited Violent Felons to Support the War Efforts

History of Homicide/Suicide on Military Bases:
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at US Military Bases

Recommendations:

  • Expand expedited transfer policy to include whistleblowers (war crimes, hazing, stalking, sex harassment, witnesses to crimes) in an effort to prevent homicide and suicide
  • Creation of cold case squads in the Army & Air Force to investigate homicide & suicide rulings
  • Centralized location for families to call to initiate an investigation of suicide ruling or cold cases, with mental health component
  • Official way to dispute findings of military investigators/medical examiners, ability to request a second independent investigation

The Feres Doctrine prevents soldiers from suing the Armed Forces for injuries incurred in the line of duty but families can sue the government in an effort to hold them accountable. Although lawyers and lengthy court battles are costly and re-traumatizing for the families. They shouldn’t have to sue the the government to get answers. They shouldn’t have to submit a FOIA request to find out how their loved one passed. Therefore it only seems fair that we give families the answers and support they need when they lose a loved one who is serving in the US military.

We need centralized databases so that records of criminal activity can be more readily tracked to prevent a violent criminal from escalating to homicide. The military is considered one team now and their criminal activity impacts service members in all branches and civilians in the US and other countries. Given the transient population and jurisdiction issues, it only makes sense to utilize the existing FBI national database in an effort to connect crimes committed on bases, overseas, deployed locations, and in the civilian jurisdictions here in the US. The overall goal is to prevent multiple victims and homicide.

Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at United States Military Bases

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*Research not complete.

My experiences as a victim of crime in the United States military inspired me to do the work I do today as a military justice policy analyst. Not only did I witness first hand how a predator operates but I witnessed multiple predator types in real time while serving my country. If these people committed these acts of crimes at work in the civilian world, they would have been in jail or I would have been rich after taking my employer to civil court. Well maybe not because the deck is stacked against the accuser but we do in fact have a civilian justice system that allows us to hold others accountable, while it simultaneously protects the due process rights of the accused. This cannot be said of the military justice system. There is no guarantee a military Commander will do anything with a crime report let alone process the felony crime effectively. We do not want a justice system where one man or woman decides whether to do nothing, give a non judicial punishment for a felony crime, or railroad the accused or accuser. We do want a justice system where we can hold our employer accountable without roadblocks from the Pentagon, Congress, and the Feres Doctrine. We cannot effectively tackle the violent crime issue in the military until the victims of crimes, like sexual assault and domestic violence, feel safe enough to report. Crime victims have expressed that they do not want to report crimes to a Commander for fear of retaliation. The Department of Defense admitted that of those of who did report the crime, 62% perceived that they faced retaliation. If service members felt safe enough to report, it could help us prevent homicide, suicide, and non combat death.

If we think about violent crime committed by military personnel compared to violent crime statistics in the United States (reference above graph), at first glance it appears the military has a homicide ‘issue’ among the ranks. Please see the below links for a sample of crime on some of the U.S. military bases. All military bases worldwide will eventually be included in this research. And the research for sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, and physical assault specifically has not been conducted yet either. Because the research is far from being complete, it is too early to make any assumptions so I will put the data in one place and let you come to your own conclusions. But if military crime mirrors civilian crime statistics, one can deduce that if the military has a lot of homicide, there is even more rape. Currently the number one concern in the military is a Commander’s ability to give a non judicial punishment for a felony crime. A Commander can bypass the courts martial process simply by punishing and/or discharging the accused with a preponderance of the evidence. This does nothing to protect our military personnel and the civilians who live near our bases in America and worldwide. Predators do not discriminate. They are just as likely to harm civilians as they are military personnel. They know their rights and they know that jurisdiction issues and lack of communication among law enforcement agencies will help prolong getting caught. We need to be one step ahead.

We can’t get real violent crime numbers for the military bases unless we include those who died of non combat deaths while they were deployed. Veterans Noonie Fortin and Ann Wright inspired me to initially look into the non combat deaths of female soldiers overseas because they observed the unusually high number of female soldiers who died of non combat deaths during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their chief concern was that although the military labels a non combat death as a suicide, there are suspicions that some female soldiers were murdered, like LaVena Johnson, Amy Tirador, and Ciara Durkin. I did the research on every single female soldier who died from non combat deaths overseas and their concerns are valid. My research on non combat deaths in Iraq alone revealed that roughly 30% of female soldiers died as a result of homicide, suicide, and other unknown causes. I am working on collecting the data for male soldiers who died from non combat related injuries in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas. I started with 2010 so we can get the most recent cases but I will go back to September 11, 2001 in the next phase of data collection. The first male soldier non combat death case I found in 2010 was an unsolved homicide. His name was SSG Anton Phillips and he was stabbed to death in Afghanistan. Further research in this area has uncovered that non combat deaths of male soldiers are just as prevalent.

Learn more:
The US Military Recruited Violent Felons to Support the War Efforts
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Afghanistan)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (US Army)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (US Army)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Carson, Colorado (US Army)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Violent Crime at Fort Wainwright, Alaska (US Army)
Violent Crime at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance Benefits
Rep Nikki Tsongas & Rep Mike Turner Host Educational Caucus: Improving Treatment Resources for Male Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma
An Open Letter to the Senate and House of Representatives in Support of the Military Justice Improvement Act
Letter of Support for Save Our Heroes in Our Shared Quest for Military Justice Reform & Constitutional Rights