LaVena Johnson – Inconceivable!

Consider the case of LaVena Johnson, a 19 year old Army private found dead in Iraq (July 19, 2005).

Ms. Johnson, a petite (5’1″) honor student, promptly enlisted in that branch of the armed forces after graduating high school. She died after only 8 weeks at her station, a suicide per the Army. Her father believes that she was the victim of a combination rape/murder and that the ensuing investigation is a cover-up of suspicious activity.

The following circumstances are known:

  • Her body was found in a contractor’s tent, not her living quarters, and there was a bloody trail leading away from said shelter.
  • A bullet and an exit wound were found at the front of her head above her left eye. Assuming she was unable to unhinge her jaw, this appears to contradict the Army’s claim that she shot herself in the mouth with an M-16 rifle.
  • Further complicating the “magic bullet” theory is the fact that the hole, allegedly the result of a rifle shot to the head, is too small to have caused the exit wound, which was consistent with revolver fire. The hole is also on the wrong side of the right-handed woman’s skull.
  • Her genitalia was burned with a caustic material, possibly lye or acid. It is possible this was done to conceal evidence.
  • Beyond the bullet hole, there were several injuries to her body, including a broken nose, loose teeth, abrasions all over her person, and a concaved eye.
  • Despite being clothed at the crime scene, autopsy pictures of the body showed evidence of burns to the right hand side of her body and blood pooling inside the opposite side her body after she died.
  • A pair of white military-issued gloves were glued to her hands after they were burned.
  • Photos and documents related to the investigation were released to her father, but not before he had to make use of the Freedom of Information Act to get them and U.S. Representative Wm. Lacy Clay made reference to her at a Congressional hearing for Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch.
  • A sketch of the crime scene shows: Johnson lying face-up in two large pools of blood, her right forearm across her face; a cot/stretcher between Johnson’s body and her weapon she is said to have shot herself with; and an aerosol can between a tent window, where a fire was set, and Johnson’s right leg.
  • Originally designated a crime scene, the investigation was halted at the order of a general.

In short:

“…the Army has continued to insist that the LaVena committed suicide by pointing her rifle with her non-dominant hand at..her head….and set herself on fire, all after she beat herself up and poured acid on her genitals…” (Jezebel)

As of June 4, this case is considered closed and no further investigation is planned.

This is absolutely inconceivable.

It is also not an isolated incident: ten families have contacted the Johnsons with similar stories, the common thread between them all being rape.

We have to wonder why this story is not being covered by the domestic (U.S.) mass media. Many of the outlets that are covering this story are smaller local papers and foreign publications.

We have to wonder why the military and the government have been so reluctant to investigate the death of a soldier. This cannot be what they mean when they talk of supporting the troops or staying the course.

How do you fight an enemy you’re supposed to be protecting because you wear the same uniform?


Sources: here, here , here, here, here

Video via KMOV TV.



  1. Kim Brummell Said:

    This is a tragic case and I agree with your words. I also blogged this story titled: “Deadly Wall of Silence”. Check it out at:

  2. Paul Shoffner Said:

    “Violence can only be concealed by a lie,
    and the lie can only be maintained by violence.
    Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method
    is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.”

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities,
    can make you commit atrocities.”


    “The limits of tyrants are prescribed
    by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
                                                                                   Frederick Douglass

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