10 Unsolved Military Cases

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Darlene Krashoc, U.S. Army

UPDATE: Army Spc. Darlene Krashoc Sexually Assaulted, Murdered, and Dumped in Parking Lot in Colorado Springs; DNA Match Leads to Arrest of Michael Whyte (March 17, 1987)

Gordon Hess

Captain Gordon Hess, U.S. Army

Army Captain Gordon Hess Found Stabbed to Death at Fort Knox in Kentucky, Military Investigators Ruled Suicide Despite the 26 Stab Wounds to Neck & Chest Area (1998)

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Col. Philip Shue, U.S. Air Force

Air Force Col. Philip Shue Died in an Apparent Car Accident, But Autopsy Revealed Much More; Texas Judge Ruled Cause of Death as Homicide (2003)

LaVena Johnson

Pfc. LaVena Johnson, U.S. Army

Army Pfc LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq, Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Autopsy Revealed Rape & Murder (2005)

Nonnie Dotson

Nonnie Dotson, U.S. Air Force

Lackland Air Force Base Nurse Nonnie Dotson Mysteriously Disappeared, Last Seen November 19th, 2006 in Littleton, Colorado While on Leave

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SrA Blanca Luna, U.S. Air Force

Cold Case: Air Force Reservist SrA Blanca Luna Discovered Stabbed to Death in Base Lodging at Sheppard AFB in Texas (2008)

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SSG Anton Phillips, U.S. Army

Army SSG Anton Phillips Found Stabbed to Death at FOB Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan; CID Offering $25,000 Reward for Information (2009)

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Katherine Morris, U.S. Army Spouse

Army Spouse Katherine Morris Found Dead in Car Near Mall; Cause of Death Initially Ruled Suicide But Further Investigation Suggests Homicide Motivated by Insurance Fraud (2012)

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Sean Wells, U.S. Army

Fort Bragg Army Soldier Sean Wells Gunned Down in Home by Two Masked Men in Fayetteville, Family Asks for Help Solving Case (2013)

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Pvt. Justin Lewis, U.S. Army

Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Neighborhood in Killeen, Texas (2017)

CASES SOLVED BY NCIS COLD CASE SQUAD:

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Andrew Muns, U.S. Navy

Michael LeBrun Plead Guilty to Strangling Andrew Muns on the USS Cacapon After Caught Stealing $8,600 from Navy Ship’s Safe, NCIS Cold Case Squad Solves Case (1968)

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Lt Verle ‘Lee’ Hartley, U.S. Navy

Lt Verle Lee Hartley, US Navy, Died of Arsenic Poisoning in 1982, NCIS Cold Case Squad Solved Murder 13 Years Later, Wife Pamela Plead Guilty (1982)

Related Links:
Our View: ‘Cold Case’ crimes are worth investigators’ effort
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance Benefits (SGLI)
Investigators Persisted When Army Soldier Kelli Bordeaux Disappeared in North Carolina, Convicted Sex Offender Nicholas Holbert Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder (2012)

Spc Mikayla Bragg Died of a Non Combat Death in Afghanistan, Army Ruled Suicide & Report Calls for Continuity of Healthcare in Deployed Locations (2011)

Spc Mikayla Bragg, US Army (2011)

Spc Mikayla Bragg, US Army

Army Specialist Mikayla Bragg died of a non combat death in Khowst province, Afghanistan on December 21, 2011. Spc. Bragg was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in Fort Knox, Kentucky. The Army ruled that Spc. Bragg’s cause of death was suicide. After an investigation it was revealed that commanders at Fort Knox failed to properly track Spc. Bragg as a “high-risk” soldier who could potentially hurt herself or others before she was cleared to deploy to Afghanistan. The Army investigators also made three recommendations in the report.

  1. Mental-health providers stateside should share more information about high-risk soldiers with mental-health providers in war zones. Camp Salerno’s behavioral-health officer said she had been unable to get mental-health records for Bragg because of privacy laws.
  2. Commanders should develop better procedures to ensure personnel data is not lost while transferring soldiers between units.
  3. No soldier, regardless of gender, should be stationed in a guard tower alone.

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Spc. Mikayla A. Bragg
Fort Knox soldier killed in Afghanistan
Longview soldier killed in Afghanistan
Longview soldier killed in Afghanistan (KOMO)
Longview soldier killed in Afghanistan (HeraldNet)
U.S. Army specialist from Longview killed in Afghanistan
Army Specialist with Ties to Shelton Killed in Afghanistan
Family, friends remember U.S. Army specialist from Longview killed in Afghanistan
Army Spc. Mikayla A. Bragg honored in dignified transfer Dec. 24
Flags lowered to honor Longview soldier
Jan. 5: Flags at Half-Staff in Honor of Mikayla Bragg
Report Finds Female Soldier Committed Suicide In Afghanistan
Longview soldier killed herself, report says
Longview soldier killed herself, report says (AP)
Report: Longview soldier committed suicide
Public Federal Way memorial honors Spc. Mikayla Bragg
Updated: The War Dead Since Sept. 21, 2011
The Unknown Soldiers: A Box of Flowers
Signs of respect in Holliston for Memorial Day
Vancouver Memorial Day ceremony pays tribute to region’s war dead
Confidentiality Speaking
‘Fell through the cracks’: Could Longview soldier’s death have been avoided?
139 Female Soldiers Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan
How Longview, Wash.’s Mikayla Bragg ‘fell through the cracks’
How Mikayla Bragg and 31 Soldiers “Fell Through The Cracks”
Army vet leads charge to create memorial for fallen Longview soldier
Thieves steal monument to Washington soldier who died in Afghanistan

May: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report (May 31, 2008)

Department of Defense

05/31/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: David Nunez, 27, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

05/29/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Chad Trimble, 29, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

05/28/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Justin Buxbaum, 23, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Hood, Texas

05/28/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Christopher Gathercole, 21, Afghanistan, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

05/28/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jason Dene, 37, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Stewart, Georgia

05/27/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: David Leimbach, 38, Afghanistan, South Carolina Army National Guard

05/27/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Frank Gasper, 25, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

05/27/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Blake Evans, 24, Iraq, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

05/27/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Kyle Norris, 22, Iraq, Fort Stewart, Georgia

05/27/2008:  Airmen MIA From Vietnam War are Identified

05/23/2008:  DoD Identifies Navy Casualty: Jeffrey Ammon, 37, Afghanistan, Provincial Reconstruction Team Ghazni

05/21/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jeffrey Deprimo, 35, Afghanistan, Pennsylvania Army National Guard

05/21/2008:  DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty: Joseph Moore, 54, NCD, Djibouti, Idaho Air National Guard

05/20/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Davy Weaver, 39, Afghanistan, Georgia Army National Guard

05/20/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Branden Haunert, 21, Iraq, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

05/20/2008:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: William Cooper, 22, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

05/16/2008:  Soldiers Missing from The Korean War are Identified

05/16/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: John Daggett, 21, Iraq, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

05/14/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Victor Cota, 33, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

05/12/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jessica Ellis, 24, Iraq, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

05/12/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Matthew Brown, 20, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

05/12/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Joseph Ford, 23, NCD, Iraq, Indiana Army National Guard

05/11/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Ara Deysie, 18, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

05/10/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Mary Jaenichen, 20, NCD, Iraq, Fort Stewart, Georgia

05/10/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Isaac Palomarez, 26, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

05/09/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Aaron Ward, 19, Iraq, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

05/09/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Alex Gonzalez, 21, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

05/08/2008:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualties: Casey Casanova, 22, Miguel Guzman, 21, James Kimple, 21, and Glen Martinez, 31, Iraq, Camp Pendleton, California

05/08/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Jeremy Gullett, 22, and Kevin Roberts, 25, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

05/05/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Corey Hicks, 22, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

05/04/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jeffrey Nichols, 21, Iraq, Fort Polk, Louisiana

05/03/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Lawrence Ezell, 30, Iraq, Fort Carson, Colorado

05/03/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Chad Caldwell, 24, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

05/03/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jerry DeLoach, 45, NCD, Iraq, WTU, Fort Knox, Kentucky

05/02/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Andrew Pearson, 32, and Ronald Tucker, 21, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

05/01/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Bryan Bolander, 26, Iraq, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

05/01/2008:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Merlin German, 22, Iraq, Camp Pendleton, California

05/01/2008:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Clay Craig, 22, Iraq, Fort Campbell, Kentucky 

Army National Guard Capt. Gordon Hess Found Stabbed to Death at Fort Knox, CID Ruled Suicide Despite 26 Stab Wounds to Neck & Chest Area (1998)

Gordon Hess

Captain Gordon Hess, US Army

Captain Gordon Hess, US Army, was found dead in a creek bed at Fort Knox, Kentucky on March 4, 1998 while there on temporary duty with the New York Army National Guard. Army investigators ruled the cause of death was ‘suicide’ but the family and an outside forensic pathologist dispute those findings given the autopsy revealed that Captain Hess had twenty-six stab wounds to the neck and chest area. Doreen Hess shared with the LA Times: “Even as we attempted to bury his mutilated body, the Army stabbed him again with a suicide ruling.” The Army claims that it fully investigates all undetermined deaths as a homicide initially but after a thorough investigation of this case, including hundreds of interviews, they determined that Captain Hess committed suicide. The family vehemently disagrees with the Army investigator’s findings based on the forensic evidence and a history of the Army ruling a soldier’s death a suicide when in fact it was most likely a homicide. An important fact to remember is that if an Army investigation determines the cause of death is suicide, they never have to investigate it again despite the impact on the families left behind.

“Absolutely no way did this man commit suicide. This gentleman was murdered.” -Charles DeAngelo, Esq.

Learn more: Military Families for Justice

Related Links:
Dead soldier with 26 stab wounds declared ‘suicide’ by Army investigators
Widow Ends Effort to Clear Guardsman’s Name, but Maintains Her Belief in Him
Long-Deserved Honor
Another Suspicious Suicide
Autopsy photos are often used to refute official conclusions
The Death of Gordon Hess
Captain Gordon Hess – Homicide or Suicide? An Equivocal Death Analysis and Case Study
Wolves in Wolf Clothing
Top 10 Questionable Deaths Ruled as Suicides
Unsolved Mysteries and Scary Stuff: Bizarre Cases of the Missing and Murdered
Cold Case Files: Who Killed Captain Gordon Hess?
Military Families for Justice: Captain Gordon Hess, Army National Guard