PFC LaVena Johnson
CPL Thae Ohu… PFC Celeste Largo…PFC LaVena Johnson. These women are the faces of sexual trauma in the Armed Forces. However, PFC Johnson died before she had the chance to prove it. Army CID claims it was suicide. Her family, and an independent autopsy, say otherwise.
PFC LaVena Johnson deployed to Iraq in 2005, and died July 19th, 2005. Her body was found in a contractor’s tent in Balad, Iraq. After an investigation, US Army CID agents said it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But, documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act suggest otherwise. “Someone poured lye in her vagina to destroy evidence,” her father said to the St. Louis American.
In one report, attorney Donald Watkins wrote “the crime scene photos of Private Johnson’s body, morgue x-rays, and an independent autopsy suggest that a much more serious physical struggle took place. Private Johnson had… teeth marks on her body… [she] appeared to have been badly beaten before she was killed…Private Johnson [had]a broken nose… and a broken neck…Shockingly, none of these injuries is mentioned in the military’s autopsy or investigative report.”
In a statement, Army CID says “All available evidence, to include forensic and testimonial, clearly demonstrate that Lavena Johnson’s death was a tragic suicide. Our lengthy and very thorough investigation by highly-trained Special Agents is based in fact; testimonial evidence, physical evidence and forensic evidence. The independent autopsy findings by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s Office came to the same conclusion. Tragically, there are many misrepresentations of the facts being circulated on the Internet that are false and unsubstantiated.” They offer no explanation for the injuries found in an independent autopsy.
So, What Does It Mean?
CID closed PFC Johnson’s case. However, family and friends still seek that closure. PFC Johnson, they say, died by murder.
Do You Need Help?
The Military Sexual Trauma Movement
DoD Safe Helpline