Speier, Mullin Introduce Bipartisan ‘I Am Vanessa Guillén Act’ to Transform the Military’s Response to Sexual Violence & Missing Servicemembers (September 16, 2020)

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE, SENATORS, AND THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE & HOUSE ARMED SERVICE COMMITTEE TO EXPRESS YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE I AM VANESSA GUILLEN BILL.

Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017)

HASC Congressional Investigation of Fort Hood: Research Reveals Pattern of Suspicious Deaths and Cover-up (September 11, 2020)

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Speier, Mullin Introduce Bipartisan I Am Vanessa Guillén Act to Transform the Military’s Response to Sexual Violence and Missing Servicemembers

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, and Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), along with co-leads Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), John Carter (R-TX), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Pete Olson (R-TX), Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-TX), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Jason Crow (D-CO), and Will Hurd (R-TX), and 94 additional co-sponsors, introduced the I am Vanessa Guillén Act in honor of the late SPC Vanessa Guillén and the many survivors of military sexual violence who have bravely come forward in the wake of her disappearance and brutal murder. The legislation responds to these resounding calls for change by offering provisions that would revolutionize the military’s response to missing servicemembers and reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault by making sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice and moving prosecution decisions of sexual assault and sexual harassment cases out of the chain of command. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate today. This morning, following a meeting with the Guillén family, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a commitment to hold a House floor vote on the I am Vanessa Guillén Act. President Trump previously announced his support for the bill during a White House meeting with the Guillén family.

SPC Guillén’s disappearance and brutal murder became the catalyst for long overdue change when her family refused to let her case be neglected by Army leadership at Fort Hood. The Guillén family supports the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act, and Chair Speier is also leading a congressional delegation this weekend to Fort Hood to further investigate matters at the base and speak with servicemembers at all levels about their experiences and how best to accelerate the cultural change that is so urgently needed.

Specifically, the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act would:

-Move prosecution decisions on sexual assault and sexual harassment cases outside of the chain of command to an Office of the Chief Prosecutor within each military service;

-Create a standalone military offense for sexual harassment;

-Establish trained sexual harassment investigators who are outside of the chain of command of the complainant and the accused;

-Create a confidential reporting process for sexual harassment that is integrated with DoD’s Catch a Serial Offender database;

-Require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the military’s procedures for finding missing servicemembers and compare with procedures used by civilian law enforcement and best practices;

-Require both DoD and GAO to conduct separate evaluations of the military services’ Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) programs; and

-Establish a process by which servicemembers can make claims for negligence and seek compensatory damages against DoD in the case of sexual assault or sexual harassment.

“Military leadership has repeatedly failed to reduce sexual harassment, sexual assault, and violent crime at Fort Hood, one of the worst sites for attacks according to Army officials, and throughout the armed forces,” Chair Speier said. “The endless cycle of harassment, assault, and retaliation for those who speak out reveals the deep roots of a toxic culture we must eradicate so that survivors are taken seriously and treated with respect, and assailants are held accountable. The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act would do this by providing survivors independent investigations for both sexual harassment and sexual assault reports and independent charging decisions for courts-martial. It would also make sexual harassment a criminal offense in the military, helping get to the core of an issue that too often leads to violence and destroys careers, and lives. The Guillén family and legions of former and current servicemembers are demanding bold change. Congress must seize this moment and deliver on that demand for change by passing the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act.”

“The issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue – it’s an American issue,” Congressman Mullin said. “We must strengthen the military’s ability to protect its most important resource, which is the people who willingly sign-up to protect all Americans. The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act will also encourage survivors to come forward to report sexual assaults and sexual harassment and to provide justice. This is about protecting our men and women in uniform and I will keep fighting so no family has to go through what the Guillén family has gone through.”

“From the moment I started working with the Guillén family in May, I made it clear I would not stop until we found Vanessa and got justice in her name,” Congresswoman Garcia said. “The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act of 2020 is a transformative and comprehensive bill that will help save lives and give our soldiers an avenue to report sexual assault and harassment without fear – a lasting legacy in honor of Vanessa. I want the Guillén family to know that Congress, the Houston region, and the entire world stands with you and we won’t stop until we get justice for Vanessa.”

“First and foremost, my heart goes out to the Guillén family, no one should ever have to experience the pain they’ve experienced,” Congressman Carter said. “The men and women that selflessly serve our nation deserve to feel safe to report misconduct and feel confident that their issues will be fairly handled. There is absolutely no place for sexual misconduct in the United States military and we must take these steps to ensure that accountability is realized.”

“The unspeakable tragedy of Specialist Vanessa Guillén’s murder has shed new light and revealed to the American public the epidemic of unchecked sexual harassment and assault that too many service members have suffered,” Congresswoman Escobar said. “Specialist Guillén – and all servicemembers – deserve respect and justice, and it’s our obligation to protect those who bravely put their lives on the line for our country. We can’t continue the same approaches that have failed victims. Congress must respond to this moment of reckoning with new solutions to tackle this epidemic and pass the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act.”

“The tragedy that befell PFC Vanessa Guillén was horrific and reflects a growing problem in our Armed Forces. Our military members should never fear harassment or violence while defending our nation,” Congressman Olson said. “As a Navy veteran, I’m proud to support the I am Vanessa Guillen Act, which is an important step towards getting justice for PFC Guillén and other service members like her. It ensures there is a stand-alone military offense for sexual harassment and requires the GAO to review how our military processes missing service members in cases of suspected foul play compared to civilian law enforcement. By working together and demanding accountability, we can prevent the next tragedy. Our military must maintain higher standards and we will not be silent on this issue.”

“Year after year, we see an increase in reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment in our military and the same statements from military leadership about how unacceptable they are. It’s far past time we take bold action to bring accountability to the system and give survivors support,” Congressman Cisneros said. “In the memory of Specialist Vanessa Guillén, Republicans and Democrats are coming together to make legislative fixes to protect our men and women in uniform. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the bipartisan I am Vanessa Guillén Act to provide the necessary support and resources for survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment in our military. Our servicemembers and military families deserve to have the peace of mind that they’ll be heard and treated with dignity and respect.”

“Ohio is home to thousands of active duty servicemembers who risk their lives for our nation, and in return, it’s our country’s obligation to ensure their safety,” Congressman Balderson said. “In honor of Vanessa Guillén, this legislation will take important steps to ensure survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment in our military can tell their stories without retribution and seek the justice they deserve.”

“As a soldier, I remember going to basic training to learn everything from marksmanship to the chain of command. The military is supposed to train new recruits on the essential tasks of the job, but we still don’t do nearly enough to address sexual assault in the ranks. We need to make sure we are creating a system and culture of accountability in the military to protect our women and men in uniform. For too long, sexual assault and violence has gone unaddressed,” Congressman Crow said. “The military failed Vanessa Guillén but I refuse to let Congress fail her or her family. It is Congress that decides what kind of military we have and now it is Congress’ responsibility to step up and pass the I AM Vanessa Guillén to protect our women and men in uniform.”

“We must work to ensure what happened to Vanessa Guillén never happens again,” Congressman Hurd said.“The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act of 2020 will protect soldiers like Vanessa by ensuring independent investigations occur in assault and harassment cases. This will better safeguard our soldiers from retaliation and help prevent these atrocious acts from ever happening in the first place.”

“Vanessa Guillén’s story makes painfully clear the need for a better response to sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military,” Senator Hirono said. The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act knocks down barriers to reporting sexual harassment and sexual assault and directly addresses the culture that protects the perpetrators of these crimes. It’s time to make a system that respects and protects survivors.”

The I Am Vanessa Guillén Act will fundamentally reform reporting and investigation of sexual harassment in the military and transform prosecution of sexual harassment and assault by empowering an independent prosecutor, within each military service, to bring charges. The bill will also allow servicemembers who were sexually harassed or sexually assaulted to pursue monetary claims against DoD and will also require a comprehensive GAO review of the military’s sexual harassment and assault prevention and response programs, as well as the military’s procedures for responding to missing servicemembers.

A fact sheet and the text of the bill are attached to this press release.

Introduction of I Am Vanessa Guillen Act:

This is a hearing by the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, looking into sexual harassment allegations and how they’re responded to. It’s also looking into Fort Hood’s sexual assault and response program. This hearing is taking place a day before Vanessa Guillen’s family meets with President Trump and legislation is introduced. -KHOU 11 (July 29, 2020)
Rep. Speier, family of murdered soldier Vanessa Guillen on legislation in her honor -PBS News Hour (September 16, 2020)
Lawmakers introduce the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act -HD Vision (September 17, 2020)

Related Files:
Fact Sheet – I am Vanessa Guillen Act Press Fact Sheet.pdf 
2020-09-15 I Am Vanessa Guillen Bill Text.pdf

In the News:

“The IamVanessaGuillen Bill is a BiPartisan Bill. It is NOT a political issue, it’s a human rights issue,” Guillen family attorney Natalie Khawam wrote. -KCEN News (September 16, 2020)
Speaker Pelosi to reportedly bring ‘I am Vanessa Guillen’ Act to U.S. House floor for vote -25 News KXXV (September 16, 2020)
Vanessa Guillén’s family members speak during a news conference about the “I Am Vanessa Guillén Act,” in honor of the late U.S. Army Specialist and survivors of military sexual violence. -KXAN (September 16, 2020)
The ‘I am Vanessa Guillen’ bill was presented to Congress Wednesday, but what does it mean for the future of military service members facing sexual harassment. -KHOU 11 (September 16, 2020)

Related Links:
Hearing: “The Military’s #MeToo Moment”
Rep. Speier, family of murdered soldier Vanessa Guillen on legislation in her honor
Lawmakers introduce the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act
Watch Live | #IAmVanessaGuillen Bill introduced in D.C.
Bill honoring Vanessa Guillen introduced in Washington D.C. Wednesday
Speaker Pelosi to reportedly bring ‘I am Vanessa Guillen’ Act to U.S. House floor for vote
Vanessa Guillén’s family members speak about the “I Am Vanessa Guillén Act”
What is the ‘I am Vanessa Guillen’ bill?

HASC Congressional Investigation of Fort Hood: Research Reveals Pattern of Suspicious Deaths and Cover-up (September 11, 2020)

(photo: Hedge Hedge Baker)

Dear House Armed Services Committee:

I accidentally stumbled upon Fort Hood while conducting research on the non combat deaths of female service members overseas. Fort Hood, along with a few other big Army bases in the U.S., was the common denominator in non combat death overseas. I also learned there are countless numbers of non combat deaths of male service members as well. They shouldn’t have to face death as a way to escape their situation (whether they are a victim of crime and/or it’s a mental health emergency). This issue in and of itself is its own animal and the reason we need policy enacted immediately to create a “bug out” plan for those in danger (or mental health emergencies) in overseas locations, especially if the chain of command fails them. There is no 911 overseas. Why is it the military is not accountable to the American public with the outcome of the investigations of a U.S. service member’s death? They conveniently get to hide behind the non combat death label and because they don’t disclose why or how the service member died in most cases, we are not able to make informed consent as to whether we want to join an organization that appears to hide their misdeeds in an effort to protect the reputation of the institution. I was inspired to look into the other non combat deaths of women overseas after learning the military labeled the obvious rape and murder of LaVena Johnson as a suicide. My research found this isn’t an anomaly, this is a pattern.

Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Afghanistan)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Other Areas)
Department of Defense Press Releases (2001 to present)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of U.S. Service Members
Fort Campbell Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Investigation Revealed Rape & Murder (July 19, 2005)

After noticing the pattern of the same bases tied to the non combat deaths overseas, I decided to start researching crime in and around the bases in question. Crime knows no boundaries. I took a look at JBLM, Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Fort Carson, Fort Campbell, JBER, Fort Wainwright, Camp Pendleton, etc. I not only discovered violent crime in and around the bases but I discovered suicide and homicide in garrison were significant issues as well. In late 2016, I noticed a large cluster of deaths at Fort Hood on the heels of learning about all the other violent crime, non combat death and suicide at Fort Hood since 9/11/2001. I was especially upset with the way Fort Hood handled the missing person case of Dakota Stump and how they treated his family. As a result of me taking an interest in the issues at Fort Hood, families of the fallen started contacting me. What I learned collectively was startling. Please keep in mind, each family didn’t know about my conversations with the other families as all this information is considered confidential unless they want to tell their loved ones story on my website: www.militaryjusticeforall.com

Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at U.S. Military Bases
Fort Hood Army Pvt. Dakota Stump Found Dead on Post Three Weeks After Vehicle Accident; Family Wants Missing ‘Warrior Alert Law’ (November 3, 2016)
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas

As a result of the intel I was getting from families of the fallen at Fort Hood, I decided I was going to start paying closer attention to what was going on at this base. It was by far the most problematic compared to any other base. But please understand Fort Hood is symbolic of the other bases; they all have these same problems. The Army is by far the worst offender concerning death and violent crime in the military. The patterns that emerged from the Fort Hood families included lack of interest in missing persons cases, mislabeling deaths, shoddy death investigations, reports and information from Army leadership that didn’t add up or make sense, evidence goes missing, computer devices and phones are erased, secretiveness, dismissiveness, misleading, and cover-up. When it comes to an untimely or dubious death, it’s hard to find a family who won’t stop fighting for their loved one until justice is served. No justice, no peace. We currently have a group of families at Fort Hood and elsewhere who want to file a class action lawsuit to get the suspicious deaths of their loved ones reopened so they can be investigated properly by independent investigators. The Army did not investigate each death as a homicide until ruled out, therefore the scene was not preserved for evidence collection; they quickly ruled the death a suicide and moved on. According to Stars and Stripes, in the last five years, we’ve lost 165 soldiers at Fort Hood and 70 of those deaths were deaths ruled suicide. I have not included all cases because a lot of families have not come forward to share their story publicly because they are heartbroken, traumatized, confused, and overwhelmed. This experience leaves the families feeling helpless. Even if the death was in fact a suicide, these families want answers, they want the truth, and they want an avenue to find the truth. I was so concerned with the number of deaths stateside at Fort Hood, I went to Washington D.C. in December 2017 to ask for help and it fell on deaf ears including the office of the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry.

Fort Hood Research for Last 5 Years:
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017)
Austin American-Statesman: Vanessa Guillen’s Death Shines Light on More Tragedies at Fort Hood (July 28, 2020)
Stars and Stripes: Why Is Fort Hood the Army’s Most Crime-Ridden Post? (August 21, 2020)

Homicide Cases in Last 5 Years:
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Killeen, Texas Neighborhood (April 17, 2017)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales Reported AWOL; Based on Anonymous Tip, Remains Found in Shallow Grave in Killeen 10 Months Later (August 19, 2019)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Spc. Shelby Jones Died of Gunshot Wound at Mickey’s Convenience Store in Killeen, Texas; Shot at Nearby Night Club (March 1, 2020)
Asia Cline, Army Veteran Shaquan Allred, & Fort Hood Spc. Freddy Delacruz, Jr. Found Shot Dead at Killeen, Texas Apartment; Suspect Arrested (March 14, 2020)
Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Found Fatally Shot Four Miles From Burning Jeep in Harker Heights, Texas; Two Arrested & Charged (May 18, 2020)
An Open Letter to the House of Representatives in Support of an Independent Investigation of the Murder of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood (July 7, 2020)

Cases of Significance (homicide has no statute of limitations):
Fort Hood Army Pfc. Melissa Hobart Collapsed and Died From Undetermined Cause While on Guard Duty in Baghdad, Iraq (June 6, 2004)
Fort Hood Army Sgt. William Edwards Killed Estranged Wife Erin Edwards at Killeen, Texas Home; Killed Self in Parking Lot Across Street (July 22, 2004)
Fort Hood Army Pfc. Tina Priest Died From a Non-Combat Related Incident in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Family Suspects Rape and Murder (March 1, 2006)
Fort Hood Army SSG Jeannette Dunn Died of a Non Combat Related Injury in Taji, Iraq (November 26, 2006)
Fort Hood Army Cpl. Christopher Ferguson Died of Undetermined Causes; CID Claimed Death Was Accident; CBS News Reported Suicide (March 25, 2007)
Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Spc. Kamisha Block in Murder-Suicide in Iraq; Family Requests Congressional Hearings & Investigation of Military Leadership (August 16, 2007)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Christine Ndururi Died of Non Combat Illness at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait; Family Claims She Has Not Been Sick (November 6, 2007)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Keisha Morgan Died of Non Combat Related Cause in Baghdad, Iraq; CID Ruled Suicide But Family Suspects Rape and Murder (February 22, 2008)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Seteria Brown Died of a Non-Combat Related Incident in Afghanistan; Army Said Found in Barracks With Gunshot Wound From M-16 (July 25, 2008)
Army SSG Devin Schuette Found Dead in Vehicle at Recreation Area Near Fort Hood; CID Ruled Suicide, Spouse Requests Independent Investigation (January 3, 2016)
Army Sgt. Marcus Nelson Sr. Died While in Custody at Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas; Nelson Held on Charges Stemming from 1st Cavalry Division (May 23, 2016)
On This Day, Eight Army Soldiers & One West Point Cadet Died in a Flash Flood Training Accident at Fort Hood in Texas (June 2, 2016)
Army Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles Found Unresponsive in Vehicle at Ft Hood Housing in Texas; Despite Suicide Ruling, Family Requests Homicide Investigation (Dec. 24, 2016)
Fort Hood Army CID Special Agent Steven Hines Found Dead Behind Office Building of Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound, Death Ruled Suicide (February 5, 2017)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Justen Ogden Found Unresponsive at On-Post Home; Family Questions Cause of Death Ruling Claiming “None of It Ever Added Up” (July 11, 2017)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Zachary Moore Died by Suicide While on Deployment to Camp Hovey, South Korea; Delay in Medical Care Contributed to Death (August 2, 2017)
Fort Hood Army MSG Alva ‘Joe’ Gwinn Led Police on High Speed Car Chase After Welfare Check Initiated; Died by Suicide During the Incident (October 12, 2017)
Timeline: Army Sgt. Kelton Sphaler & Army Vet Scott Weinhold Reported Missing at Belton Lake on Ft Hood; After Search Launched, Recovered in Water (January 21, 2019)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Mason Webber Died of Injuries Sustained Conducting Maintenance on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Texas Base (September 5, 2019)

Active Duty Military Legislation Recommendations:
Rep. Seth Moulton Introduces The Brandon Act to Change DoD Mental Health Policy, Pay Tribute to Fallen Navy Sailor Brandon Caserta (June 25, 2020)
Senators Cruz, Gillibrand, Grassley Offer Bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act as Amendment to Defense Bill (July 2, 2020)
Chair Jackie Speier NDAA Provisions Address Military Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Racial Justice, Ethics, Military Families, and DoD Oversight and Modernization (July 2, 2020)
Speier, Mullin Introduce Bipartisan ‘I Am Vanessa Guillén Act’ to Transform the Military’s Response to Sexual Violence and Missing Servicemembers (September 16, 2020)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Rest in Peace’ on ID: Kenda Investigates Suspicious Death of Air Force Retiree Willy Jackson (September 25, 2019)

When an Air Force veteran dies unexpectedly, Kenda and his team must determine if it was a tragic accident or premeditated murder. But before long, they discover that their clean-cut victim had a secret life. -Rest in Peace, Homicide Hunter (S9,E5)

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

Related Links:
Rest in Peace | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S9,E5)
Rest in Peace | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
Rest in Peace | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Rest in Peace | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Air Force Retiree Willy Jackson Found Dead in Colorado Springs Home; Wife Tony Jackson Confessed to Stabbing, DA Ruled Self-Defense (June 24, 1994)
Homicide Hunter: 20 Active Duty Military and Veteran Murder Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Valley of the Damned Premiered ‘The Second Shot’ on ID: Brian Hood Used Lover & Army Spouse Jennifer Reali As Murder Weapon (September 24, 2019)

When Dianne Hood is gunned down outside a community center in Prison Valley, no one can understand why anyone would want to murder the well-liked housewife. The answer involves betrayal, greed and obsession, in an infamous love-triangle murder plot. -The Second Shot, Valley of the Damned (S1,E4)

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

Related Links:
The Second Shot | Valley of the Damned | Investigation Discovery (S1,E4)
The Second Shot | Valley of the Damned | Investigation Discovery (website)
The Second Shot | Valley of the Damned | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Army Spouse Jennifer Reali Shot & Killed Lover’s Wife; Sentenced to Life in Prison, Paroled in 2017 & Died of Cancer Three Months Later (September 12, 1990)
Deadly Women Premiered ‘Under His Control’ on Investigation Discovery: Brian Hood Used Lover Jennifer Reali to Kill Wife (October 19, 2010)
Facing Evil with Candice DeLong Premiered ‘Love Before Life’ on Investigation Discovery: Jennifer Reali Fatally Shot Lover’s Wife in Colorado (November 26, 2010)
Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘I Now Pronounce You Dead’ on ID: Jennifer Reali Killed Lover’s Wife Dianne Hood in Colorado Springs (October 2, 2012)
Deadly Women: 30 Military and Veteran Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery
Homicide Hunter: 15 Active Duty Military and Veteran Murder Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado

House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel: Hearings on Domestic Violence in the Military (September 18, 2019)

Shattered Families, Shattered Service: Taking Military Domestic Violence Out of the Shadows -US House Armed Services Committee (September 18, 2019)

“We are here today because domestic violence has become a forgotten crisis in our military. It has been 15 years since a DOD task force analyzed domestic violence within the military, yet we have seen unsettling warning signs since. Within the last few months, DOD reports have highlighted concerning failures in our services’ domestic violence systems. The DOD has not responded urgently. Today, we will hear from three survivors of domestic violence in the military who are bravely coming forward to share their experiences in the hope that others may be helped. Because we lack data that is recent, plentiful, or granular, we must rely on survivors, advocates and experts to help us understand the unique challenges of dealing with this crisis within the military.” Read more from House Armed Services Committee Chairwoman Jackie Speier here.

Domestic Violence

Panel 1:

Mr. Brian Clubb
Coordinator, Military & Veterans Advocacy Program
Battered Women’s Justice Project

Mr. David S. Lee
Director of Prevention Services
PreventConnect

Ms. Arlene Vassell
Vice President of Programs, Prevention & Social Change
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Mrs. Rohini Hughes
Survivor and Advocate

Ms. Kate Ranta
Survivor and Advocate

Ms. Leah Olszewski
Survivor and Advocate

Panel 2:

Mrs. A.T. Johnston
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, Department of Defense

Mr. Kenneth Noyes
Associate Director, DOD Family Advocacy Program (Military Family Readiness Policy), Department of Defense

Related Links:
Congressional Testimony | National Center on Domestic & Sexual Violence
Domestic Violence in Military Families
Rep. Braley introduces Holley Lynn James Act
Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed
Woman claims Army is protecting abusive husband
Military Domestic Violence and Child Abuse | C-SPAN
Tillis Chairs Hearing on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in the Military
Heinrich Questions Army Nominee On Domestic Violence Loophole
Senator Hirono Conducts Hearing on Military Domestic Violence
High risk of military domestic violence on the home front
Kirsten Gillibrand Pleads for Military to Review Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence Allegation: ‘We Have Grave Concerns’ for Their Safety
The UCMJ May Get A Domestic Violence Update To Prevent The Next Texas Church Shooting
Sexual Assault in the Mililtary | C-SPAN
Military Not Following Own Rules for On-Base Domestic Violence Investigations
Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case on Doctrine Preventing Military Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
A Unique Military Program Helps Sexual Assault Survivors. But Not All of Them.
Bill giving soldiers right to sue for medical malpractice passes House
Senators introduce bill that would allow service members to sue for medical malpractice
Bid to allow troops to sue for military medical malpractice hits Senate snag
Subcommittee on Military Personnel: Shattered Families, Shattered Service: Taking Military Domestic Violence Out of the Shadows
Opening Statement Chairwoman Jackie Speier, Subcommittee on Military Personnel, Shattered Families, Shattered Service: Taking Military Domestic Violence Out of the Shadows September 18, 2019

Shattered Families, Shattered Service: Taking Military Domestic Violence Out of the Shadows
Congresswoman Speier Holds First House Armed Services Committee Hearing on Domestic Violence in Over 15 Years
House Armed Services Committee tackling sexual assault in the military
Hearing On Military Domestic Violence | NPR
Lawmakers Hear Emotional Stories From ‘Forgotten Crisis’ Of Military Domestic Violence | NPR
Is military domestic violence a ‘forgotten crisis’? | Military Times
Abuse survivors calls domestic violence “black eye of our military” | Connecting Vets
Outreach Key in Addressing Domestic Violence | Department of Defense
Military domestic violence investigation launched | Enid News
Commands Protect Troops and Fail Families in Domestic Abuse Cases, Victims Say | Military.com
Federal Register :: Transitional Compensation (TC) for Abused Dependents

MJFA Research

Domestic violence is more likely to lead to homicide and leaving the abuser is by far the most dangerous time for victims.

People Magazine Published ‘A War at Home’: Five Military Spouses Slain in Six Weeks at Fort Bragg (August 12, 2002)

Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank (February 7, 2006)

“December 2, 2002, President Bush signed into law an act that makes domestic violence protective orders enforceable on military installations.”

LCpl Maria Lauterbach/Homicide (2007)

Maria Lauterbach Sexual Assault Hearing (2008) (this was sexual assault and interpersonal violence)

Defense STRONG Act passed (2011) (includes expedited transfer if sexually assaulted)

Jennifer Norris Testimony to HASC (2013) (includes testimony similar to domestic abuse)

Ban on Women in Combat Lifted (2013) (this happened the same day of HASC hearings and as a result it overshadowed the hearings)

Military Policy Recommendations (MJFA) (went to DC and visited congressional members, expansion of expedited transfer policy, independent investigations)

Washington DC Presentation on Fort Hood (MJFA) (went to DC and visited congressional members, status of forces at post with most recorded suicides)

History: The Military and Domestic Abuse (MJFA)

Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) (McCaskill was voted out and Arizona Senator Martha McSally & Senator Joni Ernst are standing in the way now)

Open Letter in support of the MJIA (independent investigations, disband convening authority powers)

NBC Washington: 62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (May 18, 2015) (Retaliation is preventing our service members and military families from reporting felony crime)

Deadly Women: 30 Military and Veteran Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery (Domestic violence is happening to men too, we see a higher prevalence of female crime because the military is 85% male att)

Rep Mike Turner Says New Military Legislation Closes a Loophole & Includes Domestic Violence Victims in the Expedited Transfer Policy (unclear what the status of this legislation is, could not find an update)

Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

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Recent DV/Homicides:

Samatha Field/Army Spouse (2018)

Abree Boykin/Army Spouse (2018)

Sgt. Brittany Silvers/Army (2018)

Debbie Forrest/Army Spouse (2019)

Staff Sgt Amy Colburn/Army (2019)

Sgt. Tyrone Hassel/Army (2019)

(this list does not include all victims by a long shot)

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

DV/Homicide History:

Sgt. Bill Coffin (1997) > (Army’s inappropriate handling of DV/DA dates back to 1997)

30 Military Domestic Abuse>Homicide Cases

Non Combat Deaths/Females/Iraq

Non Combat Deaths/Females/Afghanistan

Non Combat Deaths/Females/Other Areas

Cases of Significance:

Kamisha Block (2007) (Murder-Suicide in Iraq, case reopened in 2019 to investigate negligence of Chain of Command)

Holley Wimunc (2008) > Holley Lynn James Act (similar to MJIA)

Recruit Michelle Miller (2013) > Michelle’s Law (similar to MJIA)

Dawn Giffa/Army Spouse (2015) > Lawsuit Against Army (Negligence at Fort Hood)

Pfc. Karlyn Ramirez (2015) > (abuse, child custody, homicide)

Pfc. Shadow McClaine (2016) > (abuse, divorce, homicide)

Pvt. Paige Briles (2016) > (abuse, pending divorce, suspected homicide)

Valley of the Damned Premiered ‘Killer Confession’ on ID: Army Veteran Admits Murdering Lea Porter, Her Body is Still Missing (September 17, 2019)

When Lea Porter goes missing in Prison Valley her family turn detective to try and find her. Their investigation leads to a shocking discovery – the killer’s true identity. As the killer evades arrest, Lea’s brother devises a plan to make him confess. -Killer Confession, Valley of the Damned (S1,E3)

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

Related Links:
Help Find Lea Porter | Facebook
Lea Chali Porter | The Charley Project
Remembering Lea Porter: The Photos You Need to See
Killer Confession | Valley of the Damned | Investigation Discovery (S1,E3)
Killer Confession | Valley of the Damned | Investigation Discovery (website)
Killer Confession | Valley of the Damned | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Man accused of murder, sexual assault in teen’s disappearance
High school friend who pleaded in TV interview for return of missing girl, 19, arrested for her murder after admitting he killed her and hid body
Colorado man charged with sexually assaulting, killing, teenage friend
Murder victim’s stepfather: Suspect had ‘manifesto’ about capturing, killing a girl
Man pleads guilty to high school friend’s murder
Man pleads guilty to killing southern Colorado teen who disappeared
Lea Chali Porter’s Family Upset by Plea Deal With Her Killer, Christopher Waide
Man sentenced to 48 years for murder of missing Pueblo teen
Killer is in prison, but body of Fremont County teen has never been found
Colorado mom wants answers about daughter’s missing body
Killer’s criminal justice teacher speaks out about what convict may have learned in class
Convicted Killer Says He Admitted to Murder Because Tarot Cards Said Guilt ‘Would Destroy’ Him
20/20′: Criminology student confesses to murder of young Colorado woman
Murder of Lea Porter by Christopher Adam Waide featured on Valley of the Damned

Lea Porter Missing Colorado

Netflix Premiered “Unbelievable”; Based on the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Article, “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” Featuring Marie Adler (September 13, 2019)

Inspired by real events, a teen reports and eventually recants her reported rape, while two female detectives, states away, investigate evidence that could reveal the truth. Based on The Marshall Project & ProPublica Pulitzer Prize-winning article, “An Unbelievable Story of Rape,” written by T. Christian Miller & Ken Armstrong, “Unbelievable” is a story of unspeakable trauma, unwavering tenacity, & astounding resilience. -Netflix (July 18, 2019)

Unbelievable: Marie – A look at how doubt pervades the case of “Marie” in Netflix’s new limited series “Unbelievable.” Inspired by real events, a teen reports and eventually recants her reported rape, while two female detectives, states away, investigate evidence that could reveal the truth. -Netflix (August 22, 2019)

Cast and creators of Netflix’s Limited Series “Unbelievable” discuss the creation and importance of the series. Inspired by real events, a teen reports and eventually recants her reported rape, while two female detectives, states away, investigate evidence that could reveal the truth. -Netflix (September 9, 2019)

When teenager Marie Adler (Kaitlyn Dever) files a police report claiming she’s been sexually assaulted by an intruder in her home, the investigating detectives, as well as the people closest to her, come to doubt the truth of her story. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall (Toni Collette and Merritt Wever) meet while investigating an eerily similar pair of intruder rapes and partner to catch a potential serial rapist. -BUILD Series (September 9, 2019)

A new Netflix series called “Unbelievable” is taking a dramatic look at the serial rape case two female Colorado detectives solved in 2011. -Denver7: The Denver Channel (September 14, 2019)

Marie Adler’s story is truly unbelievable. First it was an article, then it was a book, and now the story is getting widespread attention on Netflix. For this list, we’re looking at all the things in Netflix’s “Unbelievable” miniseries that are absolutely true, such as Marie Adler being charged with filing a false report, Marie suing Lynwood, Rasmussen and Duvall being based on real detectives, and more. A spoiler notice for the show is definitely in order. -Ms. Mojo (September 20, 2019)

Did you know that the new Netflix show, Unbelievable, is based on real life events? Find out Marie Adler’s story and the criminal case that exposed the mishandling of rape investigations in America. -Netflix UK & Ireland (September 27, 2019)

Related Links:
Unbelievable | Netflix
Unbelievable | Official Trailer | Netflix
Unbelievable | Official Trailer | Netflix India
Unbelievable Official Trailer (2019) Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette Netflix Series
Unbelievable: Marie | Netflix
Unbelievable l An inside look l Netflix
The Cast & Creators Of “Unbelievable” Speak On The Netflix Series
Colorado investigation becomes Netflix’s latest binge-worthy show
Top 10 Things Netflix’s Unbelievable Got Factually Right
The Full True Story Behind Unbelievable? | Netflix
Fort Carson Army Soldier Marc O’Leary Raped 18 yo Woman in Washington; Three Years Later Arrested in Colorado for Multiple Rapes, Sentenced to 300+ Years (August 11, 2008)
ProPublica & The Marshall Project Published ‘An Unbelievable Story of Rape’ by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong (December 16, 2015)
48 Hours Premiered ‘Hunted’ on CBS; An Investigation of a Military Serial Rapist Hunting Victims While Two Detectives Hunt for Him (November 19, 2016)
Netflix’s Limited Series ‘Unbelievable’ Gets Premiere Date, Trailer
Unbelievable Season 1: Netflix Release Date, Plot, Cast & Trailer
‘Unbelievable’ strikes a nerve with timing of Netflix debut
Unbelievable Series-Premiere Recap: Here Comes Help
Unbelievable Is TV’s Most Humane Show

Fort Hood Army Spc. Mason Webber Died of Injuries Sustained Conducting Maintenance on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Texas Base (September 5, 2019)

Mason Webber

Spc. Mason Webber, U.S. Army

Fort Hood Army Spc. Mason Webber, 22, died from injuries sustained while he was conducting maintenance on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle on September 5, 2019 at the base in Texas. Spc. Webber’s home of record is listed as Marion, Iowa. Spc. Webber entered the Army in March 2018 as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle system maintainer. He was assigned to 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood since August 2018. Base officials did not detail how Spc. Webber’s death occurred but said the incident was under investigation by the Army Combat Readiness Center. In one KCRG report, his mom Tonya Grefe said “He was more than just a soldier. He was Mason first and he was very proud to serve his country. He was always wearing that smile no matter what was going on in his life.”

Mason Webber was one of four siblings and loved country music. He was also a husband and his daughter was born on October 28, 2019, a little over a month after he died. The circumstances surrounding Mason’s death have been under investigation since the workplace safety mishap occurred; the family revealed at the time that there were few details released about how it happened (see below for update from the family). Mason Webber was one of thirty Army soldiers who died stateside while stationed at Fort Hood in 2019. Most of the deaths could be attributed to training accidents, auto & motorcycle accidents, drownings, unsolved homicide, and suicide. For a running history of the fallen soldiers at Fort Hood since 2016, please click here: Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Please sign the family’s petition to “close down Ft Hood for the safety of all soldiers there.”

“My son PFC Mason Webber was killed while doing routine Maintenance on a Bradley Fighter Vehicle. The NCO was told specifically not to work on this specific Bradley. The NCO chose to ignore that order. He ordered a strap to be attached to the lifting crane to hold up the compartment panel lid. The strap is only capable of holding up to 500 lbs. The correct eye hooks were all packed away due to deployment. The hydraulic cylinder snapped off and the strap was not able to hold up the lid from dropping on my son and crushing him. The same  NCO was deployed and still leading troops overseas to this day.”

“My sons story is only one of many more where leadership has failed their soldiers. There have been too many missing soldiers, gone for days before anyone notices. Also deaths ruled suicide which later prove to be homicide when families pay to have their own investigations & autopsies done. Too many training accidents have occurred there as well which could have been prevented. My sons death was one of them. Attention needs to be given to this base and either shut down or a major change in leadership roles should occur.”  Source: Petition for Mason Webber by Tonya Grefe

UPDATE (July 17, 2020): I’ll tell you exactly what happened to my son. The correct attachment to the lifting crane was not used due to the hooks all being pack away for deployment….even though they were still being told to work on the Bradley’s. The NCO told the crew to use a strap that can only hold 500 lbs because he didn’t want to take the time to go grab one out of the box. The lid fell when the hydraulic cylinder broke and the strap couldn’t hold it up. My sons skull was crushed. The leadership did not give a shit about their safety. That man is responsible for my sons death. No excuses, none of this “accidents happen” BS either. (Tonya Grefe provided the public with an update on the internal investigation, still awaiting outcome of results) 

Fort Hood Press Center Press Release:

Mason Webber Fort Hood

Death of a Fort Hood Soldier Press Release (including screenshot because they will delete this)

SAY HIS NAME 💔

“My son, PFC Mason Webber was failed by the Army and his NCO’s at FT HOOD. His blood is on their hands. There was a direct order to not work on the Bradley that ended up killing him. Well one NCO ignored those orders and ordered a strap to be used to hook up to the lifting crane to hold up the engine lid. A strap that is only approved to lift 500lbs. The correct hooks were all packed away for deployment and the NCO was too lazy to go look for one. When the hydraulic cylinder snapped off, the strap couldn’t hold up the lid and it fell crushing my son. My son wasn’t even working on that vehicle. He happened to walk by asking the others what was going on. They asked him to take a look and him being the nice guy he is wanted to help so they could all go home. If the correct lifting hook was used my son would still be here. The Army calls it a “mishap” in the investigation. It wasn’t a mishap, it was a huge fuck up on the part of the Army. It was life changing for his family, his wife and his daughter who will never get to meet her father. To the Army his death is just another incident on what not to do in the future. My sons life matters. Please SHARE my sons story so that it may be heard and hopefully changes can be made about the safety of our soldiers.”

Related Links:
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier
PFC Mason Webber – Salado Village Voice
Soldiers Lives Matter | Facebook Group
Fort Hood soldier died in maintenance mishap
Soldier Died While Working on Vehicle at Fort Hood
Fort Hood soldier died in maintenance accident
Ft. Hood names soldier who died after vehicle maintenance incident
Soldier dies while conducting vehicle maintenance at Fort Hood
Soldier dies of injuries sustained during maintenance on a Bradley
Army identifies soldier who died during vehicle maintenance at Fort Hood
Fort Hood soldier dies from injuries sustained while conducting fighting vehicle maintenance
Fort Hood soldier dies from injuries sustained during Bradley vehicle maintenance
Fort Hood soldier dies from injuries sustained during Bradley vehicle maintenance
Fort Hood soldier dies from injuries sustained during Bradley vehicle maintenance
Marion Soldier Dies of Injuries Sustained at Fort Hood
Ft. Hood names soldier who died after vehicle maintenance incident
Family releases photo of Marion soldier killed on Texas base
Iowa soldier who died in maintenance incident remembered for legacy he leaves behind
Salute to the Fallen will honor Mason Webber
ABC World News Tonight with David Muir

Mason Webber ABC News

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Mason Webber Tweet 2

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Army Pfc. Jason Decker Died of Unspecified Medical Condition While Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas (September 15, 2018)

Pfc. Jason Decker, U.S. Army

Obituary: Pfc. Jason Matthew Decker, U.S. Army, age 25, of Slidell, LA, passed away on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Beloved husband of Emily Fuller Decker. Survived by his grandparents, who nurtured and raised him from birth, Buddy and Colette Decker, his birth mother Lacey Smith, his birth father, Adam Galloway. Brother of Madison Lara, Rylee Lara, Taylor Galloway, Megan Galloway, Matthew Galloway. Also survived by many Aunt’s, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends. Jason was born in Slidell where he graduated from Slidell High school in 2011. Jason was an avid outdoorsman, loved baseball and his family. He will be greatly missed and remain in our hearts forever. 

In the News:

A grieving father on his way to bury his son rushed to officer Jason Seals’ side after the crash. -WWLTV (September 26, 2018)

Related Links:
Obituary: Jason Decker, U.S. Army
Obituary: Jason Decker, U.S. Army
PFC Jason Matthew Decker – U.S. ARMY
Obituary: Jason Matthew Decker (Killeen Daily Herald)
Paramedic jumps out of son’s funeral procession to help seriously injured officer
Grieving father broke off from son’s funeral procession to aid wounded officer
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (2016 to Present)
Salute to Fallen Foundation Honors Army Spc. Mason Webber; Vinton Today is First Publication to Honor & Acknowledge the Fort Hood Fallen (July 20, 2020)