10 Unsolved Military Cases

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Darlene Krashoc, US Army

Cold Case: Army Spc. Darlene Krashoc Sexually Assaulted, Murdered, and Dumped in Parking Lot in Colorado Springs; CID Offers $10,000 Reward (1987)

Gordon Hess

Captain Gordon Hess, US 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, US 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, US 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, US 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, US 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, US 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, US 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, US 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, US 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, US 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, US 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)

30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners (2017)

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Graphic Courtesy of Futures Without Violence (2017)

  1. Air Force MSgt William Lipscomb Murdered his Wife Kathleen After She Threatened to Expose his WAPS Promotion Cheating Scam (1986)
  2. Joseph Snodgrass, US Air Force, Hired Hitmen to Murder Wife Julie at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines for the $400,000 Life Insurance Payout (1991)
  3. Phonthip Ott Discovered Dead in California River; Spouse Dennis Ott, US Coast Guard, Convicted of Murder and Sentenced to Life in Prison (1992)
  4. Fort Carson Army Soldier Michael Pelkey Convicted by Military Court Martial of Murdering Wife Diane; Sentenced to Life in Prison (1993)
  5. Sgt. Bill Coffin Murdered Ex-Fiancee After Civilian Courts Issued Protective Order, Judge Alleges Army Routinely Ignores Court Orders (1997)
  6. Fort Bliss Army Commander Captain Lynn Reister Murdered by Enlisted Husband Roger and His Brother Rodney for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (2001)
  7. Retired Army Soldier Andrea Floyd Killed by Army Husband Brandon Floyd in Murder-Suicide at Fort Bragg (2002)
  8. Air Force SSgt Shelby Orelup Murdered by an Airman She Dated Briefly, SSgt Phillip Arindain Sentenced to Life in Prison (2003)
  9. US Army Soldiers Jeremy Meyers & Christopher Baber Found Guilty of Murdering Jeremy’s Wife Jessica for the Life Insurance Policy (2003)
  10. Fort Hood Army Sgt William Edwards Killed Estranged Wife Sgt Erin Edwards at Home in Killeen, Then Killed Self in Apartment Complex Parking Lot Across Street (2004)
  11. Sgt 1st Class Donald Gower, US Army, Conspired & Offered to Pay Others to Murder his Estranged Wife Hidi Gower for the Life Insurance (2007)
  12. Army Staff Sgt Paul Norris Shot Spc Kamisha Block Five Times in Iraq, Then Killed Self (2007)
  13. US Navy Sailor Genesia Gresham Shot and Killed in Bahrain by Clarence Jackson (2007)
  14. Fort Bragg Army Soldier Edgar Patino Murdered Army Specialist Megan Touma & Unborn Son After Argument, Sentenced to 16-20 Years in Prison (2008)
  15. Fort Bragg Army Nurse Lt Holley Wimunc Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce, John Wimunc Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)
  16. Army Sergeant Christina Smith Murdered by Army Husband Richard Smith & Accomplice Matthew Kvapil, Both Fort Bragg Soldiers Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)
  17. Ashley Barnes, US Army, Murdered by Soldier Husband Shortly Before Filing for Divorce, Khaleefa Lambert Sentenced to Life in Prison (2009)
  18. Travis McGraw, US Air Force Reserve, Murdered his Wife Vanessa for the $100,000 Military Life Insurance Policy (2011)
  19. 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)
  20. Robert Chiaravalotti, US Army, Sentenced to Life Without Parole by Military Judge After Killing Wife & Raping Step Daughter (2012)
  21. Miranda Nichols, US Army, Shot & Killed by Army Boyfriend Samuel Tellu in an Apparent Domestic Dispute, Tellu Found Dead in Vehicle (2012)
  22. US Army Soldier Kimberly Walker Murdered in Colorado Hotel Room by her Boyfriend Army Soldier Montrell Mayo After Valentine’s Day Quarrel (2013)
  23. Evidence Reveals Army Reserve Recruiter Adam Arndt Murdered High School Student Michelle Miller & Then Killed Self, Army Investigators Claim Double Suicide (2013)
  24. Danielle Nemetz was Shot and Killed; Army Soldier and Spouse Skylar Nemetz Convicted of Manslaughter and Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison (2014)
  25. Army Sgt Michael Walker Allegedly Conspired to Murder Wife with Prostitute for Insurance Money; Awaiting Murder Trial in Hawaii Civilian Court (2014)
  26. Fort Meade Soldier Caleb Barnes, US Army, Plead Guilty to First Degree Murder of Cheryl Silvonek; Sentenced to Life in Maryland Prison (2015)
  27. Army Pfc Karlyn Ramirez Found Shot to Death in Home, Army Veteran Dolores Delgado Plead Guilty & Army Sgt Maliek Kearney Awaiting Trial (2015)
  28. Reward Offered for Armed and Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2016)
  29. Fort Bragg Army Soldier Iris Armstrong Found Murdered in Home; Accused Spouse Jason Armstrong Found Dead After Intense Manhunt & Police Stand-Off (2016)
  30. Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Shadow McClaine Reported Missing 9/2; Army Soldier Charles Robinson Pleaded Guilty, Estranged Husband Jamal Williams-McCray Awaiting Murder Trial (2016)

Related Links:
Racial and Ethnic Differences in Homicides of Adult Women and the Role of Intimate Partner Violence — United States, 2003–2014
CDC: Half Of All Female Homicide Victims Are Killed By Intimate Partners
Vast Majority of Female Murder Victims Killed by Partners: New CDC Report

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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Katherine Morris

Katherine Morris, 22, was found dead in her car near the Arundel Mills Mall in Maryland on May 6, 2012. Katherine was a University of Maryland student and married to Army spouse, Isaac Goodwin, who was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. According to a website dedicated to Katherine Morris, she died from carbon monoxide poisoning from charcoal grills lit in her car. Katherine’s family questioned the ruling of suicide by the Army and the Anne Arundel County police department immediately and were eventually successful at getting some retired civilian detectives to look into their suspicions of homicide motivated by life insurance fraud. Interestingly, Anne Arundel County police department also had jurisdiction of the homicide investigation of Army soldier Karlyn Ramirez, who was murdered in 2015. Karlyn’s husband Maliek Kearney and his new girlfriend Doris Delgado face federal murder charges. Karlyn’s homicide is similar in motive to the theories Katherine’s family has about her suspicious death. Karlyn and Katherine both appear to have been targeted and became the victims of domestic violence and/or life insurance fraud. The true motivation behind the Karlyn Ramirez and Katherine Morris deaths is unknown at this time but given how many homicides occur in the military with the common motive of domestic violence and/or life insurance, the Katherine Morris case deserves a second look.

Three families have asked for similar law changes for victims of domestic violence in the military since 2011. Representative Bruce Braley introduced the Holley Lynn James Act on behalf of Fort Bragg Lt. Holley Wimunc who was murdered by her Marine husband John Wimunc in 2008. The bill was advocating for the removal of the Commander and the Chain of Command from the investigation and adjudication of felony crimes like domestic violence because of their inexperience with the modus operandi of offenders. Unfortunately the bill was never even considered and this bill may have had the power to prevent what happened to Katherine Morris, Michelle Miller, and Karlyn Ramirez. Michelle Miller’s family believes she was targeted by an Army recruiter at her Rockville, Maryland high school and became the victim of domestic violence and homicide, despite the Army’s ruling of a double suicide. As a result, Michelle’s family is advocating for Michelle’s Law, which is an effort to encourage Congress to pass a law that would try military abuse and murder cases in civilian court. Katherine’s family is currently advocating for the Katherine Morris Military Spouse Protection Act. All of these law proposals ask that the Chain of Command be removed from the investigation and adjudication of felony crimes because of their inexperience at handling these complex cases. Similar bills have also been introduced to Congress to include the Sexual Assault Training, Oversight, and Prevention Act and the Military Justice Improvement Act. The military needs experienced investigators to get to the bottom of the truth in an effort to prevent crime and save lives.

Related Links:
For Kathy’s Sake, Inc.
Obituary: Katherine Sarah “Kat” Morris
U.Md. student found dead in car near Arundel Mills Mall
Questions abound after student death
Fort Bragg soldier accused of fraud after wife’s suicide
Army investigates allegation soldier drove UMd. student to suicide
Retired officers to give Anne Arundel County cold cases new life
Retired detectives to review 2012 suicide near Arundel Mills
Police reopen probe of Rev. Morris’ daughter’s death
Police Launch Independent Review Into UMD Student’s Suicide Death
Police re-open ‘suicide’ case of wife who was heartbroken after she discovered ‘soldier husband only wed her for Army benefits and was sleeping with other women’
Mother of apparent suicide seeks answers
Marguerite Morris v. Prudential Insurance Company of America (2013)
NAACP seeks federal probe of 2012 death in Hanover
Anne Arundel County mom not convinced her daughter committed suicide, calls for DOJ investigation
Morris v. Goodwin (2014)
Mother’s Search for Answers in Daughter’s Death Leads to Shelter Closure
Anne Arundel Police Response to Freedom of Information Request
Mother seeks emails in daughter’s death investigation
When Katherine Morris, 22, died suddenly, police ruled it suicide, but her mother continues to investigate
Marguerite R. Morris, Personal Representative of the Estate of Katherine Sarah Morris v. Isaac Jerome Goodwin (2016)
Fort Bragg Army Nurse Lt Holley Wimunc Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce, John Wimunc Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)
Evidence Reveals Army Reserve Recruiter Adam Arndt Murdered High School Student Michelle Miller & Then Killed Self, Army Investigators Claim Double Suicide (2013)
Army Pfc Karlyn Ramirez Found Shot to Death in Home, Army Sgt Maliek Kearney & Army Veteran Dolores Delgado Charged with Across State Lines Murder, Feds Prosecuting (2015)
Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder
Family of Katherine Morris wants Dept. of Justice to investigate death
Army Specialist Isaac Goodwin allegedly marries for money, and his wife commits suicide

 

History: The Military And Domestic Abuse (January 28, 2009)


Critics say the military needs to do more about domestic violence against women. A CBS News investigation found more than 25,000 women have been victimized over the past decade. Katie Couric reports. -CBS

Related Links:
A Silent Struggle (2009)
Domestic Abuse In The Military (2009)
The Army And Domestic Abuse (2009)
Abused Military Wife Speaks Out (2009)
Bringing The War Home (2009)
Tonight: Investigating Domestic Violence In The Military (2009)
When War’s Violence Comes Home (2009)

MJFA Research:
Fort Bragg Army Nurse Lt Holley Wimunc Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce, John Wimunc Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)
Rep. Braley introduces Holley Lynn James Act (2011)
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)
Evidence Reveals Army Reserve Recruiter Adam Arndt Murdered HS Student & Recruit Michelle Miller, Then Killed Self; Army Claims Double Suicide (2013)
Army Sgt Michael Walker Allegedly Conspired to Murder Wife with Prostitute for Insurance Money; Awaiting Murder Trial in Hawaii Civilian Court (2014)
Army Pfc Karlyn Ramirez Found Shot to Death in Home, Army Veteran Dolores Delgado Plead Guilty & Army Sgt Maliek Kearney Awaiting Trial (2015)
Army Pfc. Shadow McClaine Reported Missing at Fort Campbell on 9/2; Spc. Charles Robinson Pleaded Guilty to Murder, Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray Awaiting Trial (2016)
Life Insurance Fraud is a Common Motive for Murder in the Military
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for Military Survivor and Life Insurance Benefits
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members

History:
Spouse Abuse A Military Problem (1999)
Pentagon Reveals 50,000 Abused Military Spouses (1999)
General: The Good Soldier Doesn’t Beat His Wife (2001)
Retired judge remembers ‘60 Minutes’ Ed Bradley (2006)
When Strains on Military Families Turn Deadly (2008)
PTSD and Domestic Abuse: Husbands Who Bring the War Home (2010)
Domestic violence: end of your time in the military? (2011)
Reports of family violence, abuse within military rise (2011)
A Silent Epidemic: Spousal Abuse is the Military’s Best Kept Secret (2012)
High risk of military domestic violence on the home front (2014)
How The Military Failed This Victim Of Domestic Violence (2014)
DoD Highlights Programs to Prevent, Treat Domestic Violence (2014)
After Combat Stress, Violence Can Show Up At Home (2016)
Sutherland Springs Church Killer Was Kicked Out of Air Force for ‘Bad Conduct’ (2017)
An Air Force error allowed the Texas gunman to buy weapons (2017)
Air Force Failed to Report Texas Church Gunman Devin Kelley’s Domestic Violence Convictions (2017)
Here’s the Document That Should Have Prevented Devin Kelley From Buying Guns (2017)
Read Devin P. Kelley’s assault and domestic violence court documents (2017)
The loophole that may have given the Texas church gunman access to his arsenal (2017)
A Domestic Violence Loophole In The UCMJ? [Update: Kelley Was In A Mental Health Facility] (2017)
Texas shooting puts scrutiny on military’s criminal reporting system (2017)
The military reports almost no domestic abusers to the main background check database for guns (2017)
Defense Department has Reported Only One Domestic Abuser to Federal Gun Database (2017)
US military consistently fails to report domestic violence to gun database, senators say (2017)
The Air Force Error That Let the Texas Church Shooter Buy a Gun Is Just One of ‘Thousands’ (2017)
There Is No Domestic Violence Loophole in Military Law (2017)
Assault charges erased by veterans’ ‘Valor Act’ (2017)
Clarifying Our Reporting on the Military, Domestic Violence Records, and Gun Background Checks (2018)

Congressional Action:
Jeff Flake, Martin Heinrich introduce bill to close domestic violence loophole in military (2017)
Hirono Bill Closes Military Loophole On Firearm Purchases (2017)
Sen. Hirono Introduces Military Domestic Violence Reporting Enhancement Act (2017)
Rep. Rosen Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Close Loophole in Military Justice System that Allows Convicted Domestic Abusers to Buy Guns (2017)
Following Shooting in Texas, Kaine Introduces Bill to Close Loophole in Military Justice System that Enables Convicted Abusers to Purchase Guns (2017)
Military wife alleges abuse in the Army (2018)
Victims can face obstacles in domestic violence cases involving soldiers (2018)
Tillis Chairs Hearing on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in the Military (2018)
YouTube: Tillis Chairs Hearing on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in the Military (2018)
C-SPAN: Hearing Focuses on Domestic Violence & Child Abuse in the Military (2018)
SASC: Hearing Focuses on Domestic Violence & Child Abuse in the Military (2018)
Mother of sexually abused child: The military is failing victims (2018)
Lawmakers move to make domestic violence a crime under UCMJ (2018)
The UCMJ May Get A Domestic Violence Update To Prevent The Next Texas Church Shooting (2018)
UCMJ domestic violence overhaul aims to prevent another mass shooting (2018)
Rosen Amendment to Make Domestic Violence a Crime Under the U.S. Military Code of Justice Passes the House Armed Services Committee (2018)
S. 2129: Military Domestic Violence Reporting Enhancement Act