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2002-11-11

Domestic Violence Advocates Criticize New Militarystudy Examining Why Four Fort Bragg Soldiers Killedtheir Wives: Army Blames Murders On Stress and Stigmaof Psychological Counseling

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A 19-member team sent to investigate the four Fort Bragg murders last summer announced last week that marital problems and the military culture, such as work-related stress and a stigma against psychological counseling all played a role in the killings.

In June and July, four sergeants based at Fort Bragg killed their wives.

Teresa Nieves was shot in the head by her husband two days after he returned from Afghanistan. Jennifer Wright, a mother of three, was strangled in her bedroom. Andrea Floyd was shot in the head the same day she asked for a divorce. Then came Marilyn Griffin who was stabbed 50 times and set on fire.

Three of the husbands were Special Operations servicemen who had recently returned from Afghanistan. Two shot and killed themselves and two were arrested for murder.

The civilian wife of another soldier at the base was also charged with murdering her husband over the summer.

The report said that Army mental health services are"flawed" because they inadvertently discourage soldiers and their families from seeking help when problems arise. It said counseling should be available on a more private and convenient basis, to reduce concerns that a soldier’s career could be ruined if he seeks help.

The report did not rule out the controversial malaria drug Lariam as a factor in any one killing or suicide,but officials said the drug does not explain the strange cluster of violence over a short period oftime.

Guest:

  • Christine Hansen, Executive Director of The Miles Foundation, Inc., a private nonprofit organization providing comprehensive services to victims of violence associated with the military.

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