Missing Iraq War Veteran Turns Up Slain

Vietnam Vets
Missing Iraq War Veteran Turns Up Slain
Mon Nov 17 01:23:29 2003

Missing Iraq War Veteran Turns Up Slain
Posted By
Lisa on November 16, 2003 at 17:40:50:


Missing Iraq War Veteran Turns Up Slain

COLUMBUS, Ga. (Nov. 16) - The body was almost a skeleton when investigators found it, hidden in the woods for nearly four months and so decomposed that knife marks etched in its bones were the only way to tell the man had been stabbed.

Spc. Richard Davis had survived the war in Iraq, where he turned 25 during the march to Baghdad, only to be slain after celebrating his homecoming at a topless bar near Fort Benning.

U.S. Army soldiers Jacob Burgoyne, Alberto Martinez Mario Navarrete and Douglas Woodcoff are charged in connection with the stabbing death of Spc. Richard R. Davis.

With the discovery of his body earlier this month came a even more disturbing twist. The four men accused of turning on him with fists and a blade, then hiding his body, had served beside him in the same infantry unit in the blazing desert sands, facing Iraqi bullets and rocket-propelled grenades.

Now the Army is on the defensive, accused by Davis' family of writing him off as AWOL instead of quickly investigating his disappearance.

Some people are also questioning the investigators' conclusion that the killing was simply the result of a brawl gone bad, wondering if trauma from the battlefield could have led to bloodshed at home.

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"All of the evidence says there was no bad blood" between the soldiers, said Mark Shelnutt, a defense attorney for Pfc. Douglas Woodcoff, one of the accused men. "They've all been to Iraq, they want to have a few drinks. ... You can't help but wonder. If this had happened a week before they deployed, would the result have been the same?"

Davis returned from the Middle East on July 12 from his second deployment since May 2002. His unit - 1st Battalion, 15 Infantry Regiment of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division - had spent most of the past 14 months in the region training, fighting and waiting to go home.

Davis never called his parents to tell them he was back. He had no wife or girlfriend in Columbus. So he piled into a car with four other soldiers from his company for a night out to celebrate.

They headed to the Platinum Club, a topless bar.

At some point, Davis apparently insulted one of the dancers and the soldiers were kicked out, said Lt. Steve Cox of the Columbus Police Department.

Davis's fellow soldiers later told police they were upset about it and started brawling with Davis in the parking lot. They left and drove about three miles before Pfc. Alberto Martinez pulled the car over.

Two of the men, Pvt. Jacob Burgoyne and Pfc. Mario Navarrete, got out and continued their fightfight with Davis. They told police that Woodcoff watched without joining in.

Then, they said, Martinez pulled a knife and stabbed Davis several times.

The four soldiers drove to a convenience store and bought lighter fluid. Then they returned to the bloodied corpse, tried to burn it and left it in the woods.

The account of the deadly brawl came from Burgoyne, Navarrete and Woodcoff in police interviews following their Nov. 8 arrest, the day after Davis' body was found.

Police don't believe the soldiers' combat experiences were a factor in the killing. Only two slayings have been linked to the 16,500 3rd Infantry soldiers who deployed to Iraq from Fort Benning and Fort Stewart, near Savannah.

"There are murders committed every day, and most murders are committed by people who know you," Cox said. "We see best friends killing each other all the time - civilians, military, all walks of life."

Davis' father doesn't buy that argument. He's not sure why his son was slain but insists it wasn't a simple, perhaps drunken, argument.

"You don't go out and stab a guy and set his body on fire after you beat him half to death because you got kicked out of a bar," Lanny Davis said. "You don't go out and kill your buddies. There was something else that happened."

Lanny Davis didn't find out his son was back in the United States until a soldier from Fort Benning called him in Missouri to ask if he was home yet.

He traveled to Fort Benning a month later to ask about his son. The Army had listed him as AWOL, absent without leave, though he'd left his toothbrush and new clothes in his barracks.

Fort Benning didn't investigate Davis' disappearance until the fall, after Lanny Davis sought help from his congressman, Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo.

Col. Steven Salazar, brigade commander for the 3rd Infantry at Fort Benning, said Thursday that the Army "followed all procedures necessary ... and even took additional measures" to find out what happened to Davis. After discovering his death, the Army reinstated Davis' active-duty status so his parents could receive his death benefits.

But the slain soldier's father remains angry.

"I've been screaming ever since that lieutenant colonel came and told me they found my son's skeletal remains," Lanny Davis said. "We don't even have the chance to see my son's face ever again."

Investigators have yet to hear the story from Martinez, 23, who is awaiting extradition from California on murder charges.

A judge last week reduced the charges against Burgoyne of Middleburg, Fla., Navarrete of San Juan, Texas, and Woodcoff of San Antonio, Texas, all 24, from murder to a concealing a death, a felony, though District Attorney Gray Conger said he may still seek murder indictments.

Lanny Davis said brawls were what his son hoped to escape when he joined the Army after high school, where he had endured teasing, name-calling and fights because he was half-Filipino.

"He liked the military because he felt somewhat secure there," Lanny Davis said.

11/16/03 13:11 EST


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Fort Worth Star Telegram, TX - Oct 24, 2003
ATLANTA - Soldiers who served in Iraq will not be allowed to give blood for a year
after returning home because of a rare skin parasite that has infected

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Msg #
From: "Joseph O. McBride, Jr."
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 10:15 am
Subject: Fwd: [apfn] IRAQ WMD'S FOUND!

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>From: APFN
>Reply-To: apfn@smartgroups.com
>To: dwahlberg@ajc.com, APFN Yahoogroups , APFN SMARTGROUP
>Subject: [apfn] IRAQ WMD'S FOUND!
>Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 22:54:05 -0700

Cheer a special someone with a fun Halloween eCard from American Greetings!

From: APFN
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:54 am
Subject: [apfn] IRAQ WMD'S FOUND!
To: dwahlberg@a..., APFN Yahoogroups , APFN SMARTGROUP

1. Unknown illness sweeps US troops: (Sand Fleas)
illness sweeps US troops: (Sand Fleas) Thu Oct 2 18:09:31 ...
US troops serving in Iraq could be the harbinger of a new ...
U.S. Ignored Iraq Recommendation Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Kirt Love
Mon Oct 27 01:39:24 2003

Sand flies keep troops from donating blood
Pacific Stars and Stripes, Japan - 16 hours ago
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The military blood supply has taken another
hit, this time by a parasitic disease spread by sand flies in Iraq. ...

Skin disease infects U.S. soldiers in Iraq

By DAVID WAHLBERG - dwahlberg@ajc.com
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Click here to find out more!

At least 30 soldiers serving in Iraq have contracted a skin disease spread by sand flies, prompting a ban on blood donations by all members of the military in Iraq for a year after they return home, health officials said Thursday.

The parasitic disease, leishmaniasis, occurs in two forms. The soldiers have the milder form, which causes skin sores and is curable if promptly treated. The other form of the disease -- believed to account for some reports of Gulf War syndrome after that conflict in 1990-91 -- often causes fever, weight loss and organ damage. It can be fatal.

A few cases have been transmitted through blood transfusions in other countries, but not in the United States. The new policy may divert more than 12,000 blood donors, Pentagon officials said. But some soldiers would have been forbidden from donating anyway because they have been in places where malaria is common.

A similar ban was implemented after the Gulf War, when 32 soldiers got leishmaniasis, including 12 cases of the more serious form of the disease, military officials said.

In a report Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, health officials said the soldiers in the recent outbreak have been treated successfully.

At least 30 soldiers have contracted the skin form of the disease in Iraq this year, plus two apiece in Kuwait and Afghanistan since the beginning of last year, said Dr. Dallas Hack of Walter Reed. They came from the Army, the Air Force and the Marine Corps and included active, reserve and National Guard members.

Most have had a few lesions, often resembling mini-volcanoes, on their arms or legs.

More cases may be forthcoming. The sand fly season runs from May to October, and symptoms often don't appear for a month after infection. "I would expect we would see it for another couple of months," Hack said. "A lot of people are reserves coming back, and they may not see this until they get out of active duty."

Cases of the systemic, more serious, form of the disease also may turn up, said Dr. Kathleen Murray-Leisure, an infectious disease specialist from Pennsylvania who has treated Gulf War veterans.

"What they're seeing so far is the tip of the iceberg," she said. "Whenever you have this many [skin] cases, there are probably [systemic] cases too."

She said systemic leishmaniasis accounts for one-third to one-half of Gulf War syndrome. But Hack said he considers leishmaniasis separate from Gulf War syndrome, a label he reserves for conditions with no specific diagnosis.

Military health officials have instructed soldiers to use insect repellent and insecticide-treated bed nets to protect themselves against parasite-carrying sand flies, Hack said.

Murray-Leisure, who praised those steps, called for one more: clothing that covers the whole body.

"Ideally they would issue scarves to each and every soldier or tell them to wear turbans," she said. "They need to dress like the Arabs."

----- Original Message -----
From: Kirt Love HTTP://www.gulflink.org
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 8:42 PM
Subject: [gulflink] Skin disease infects U.S. soldiers in Iraq

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