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Monday, September 24, 2007

What really happened to Pfc. Lavena Johnson?

Ann over at Beautiful, Also, Are The Souls Of My Black Sisters posts about the mysterious death of a young female private who died in July, 2005 while serving in Iraq. Although the Army's official report claimed that Pfc. Johnson committed suicide, her father is adamant that something isn't right about the circumstances surrounding his daughter's death:

"In an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dr. Johnson (Lavena's father) pointed to indications that his daughter had endured a physical struggle before she died - two loose front teeth, a “busted lip” that had to be reconstructed by the funeral home - suggesting that “someone might have punched her in the mouth."" This was something not brought up in the autopsy report, which is definitely strange. Also military documents indicate "her company commander wrote that Johnson was clearly happy and healthy physically and emotionally, something her mother knew by a phone conversation the day before she died." Which makes the account stranger still.

Other information reported in a February, 2007 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article:

Johnson's parents also question how their daughter at 5'1", could handle a 40 inch M-16 to kill herself while sitting.

In fact, a military laboratory even concluded that based on a gunshot residue test, Johnson may not have even handled the weapon.

Additionally, Johnson's military debit card was never found, even though she used it two hours before her death to buy candy.

No bullet was ever found where she died, and a trail of blood is seen in photos outside the tent. Even stranger, it appears as if someone tried to set her body on fire.

So if it wasn't a suicide as the Army maintains, then how did Lavena Johnson die?

All of this seems to point to some cover-up. Mr. Johnson believes his daughter was raped, which would fit in with recent articles about the growing number of sexual assaults in the military. Remember, too, that the military, desperate for recruits, are letting almost anyone in now, including ex-convicts with violent records. Also remember that the Army has a history of covering up deaths that they consider "embarrasing" to the corp, for example, the death of Cpl. Pat Tillman, whom the Army originally said died in a fire fight with the enemy, then recanted when evidence pointed to death by "friendly fire."

Despite the nagging questions, the military refuses to look into the case any further and considers it closed.

Ann has provided links (see below) to make sure this case doesn't just "go away." Please take a look:

1. Sign the online petition to the Armed Services Committees in Congress asking them to direct the Army to reinvestigate the death of LaVena Johnson.

2. Find your Senator or Representative on the Armed Services Committees list and contact them directly about LaVena.

3. For background on Lavena Johnson, please view the KMOV-TV news report from 02.21.07.

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Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 9/24/2007 12:46:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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