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


Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles, US Army

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

How does the family get justice for Paige?

Source: Teri Fontenot (Paige Briles’ mom)

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

NBC DFW | Injured Heroes, Broken Promises: Army Launches Investigation Inside Fort Hood’s Warrior Transition Unit (2015)

US Army SealAllegations of mistreatment persist inside units designed to heal wounded soldiers

“NBC 5 Investigates has learned that the U.S. Army has launched a new investigation inside Fort Hood’s Warrior Transition Unit (WTU), looking at claims of harassment and abuse.

The investigation comes after NBC 5 Investigates partnered with The Dallas Morning News for a six-month investigation that revealed hundreds of complaints from injured soldiers who said commanders harassed, belittled them and ordered them to do things that made their conditions worse at three Warrior Transition Units in Texas: Fort Hood, Fort Bliss and Fort Sam Houston.”

Read more from NBC DFW here.

Related Links:
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas
Wounded soldiers allege mistreatment in the Army’s Warrior Transition Units (2014)
Army closing 10 WTUs as need subsides; 15 to remain (2015)
House Orders Sweeping Investigation of Army Warrior Care (2015)
Soldier Describes Improvement at Fort Hood’s WTU After NBC 5 Investigation Exposes Complaints of Mistreatment (2015)
GAO: Army Needs to Improve Oversight of Warrior Transition Units (2016)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (2017)
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)
78 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 7 Overseas Deaths, 3 Non Combat; 71 Stateside Deaths, 37 ‘Suicides’, 1 Unsolved Homicide (2018)
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook

May: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report (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