Dad Says Military Masked Rape-Murder as Suicide

Questions raised about dead soldiers who may have been sexually abused
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 8, 2009 10:40 AM CDT
Army Pfc. LaVena Lynn Johnson, who the Army said committed suicide in 2005, though her father believes she was raped and murdered while serving in Iraq.   (AP Photo/Family Photo)
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(Newser) – A California father is accusing the US military of covering up the rape and murder of his soldier daughter who authorities say committed suicide, reports the Los Angeles Times. Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson, found dead of a rifle blast in her mouth in an Iraq contractor's tent without a suicide note or significant gun residue on her hands, may be one of a number of dead military women who were victims of sexual assaults, according to families.

Retired Army Col. Ann Wright, a former US diplomat, accuses the military of withholding evidence indicating sex assaults and other attacks. Johnson's father says signs of a beating, blood splatters outside the tent, and a caustic substance poured on his daughter's genitalia are all signs that she didn't kill herself. A military spokesman said the Johnson investigation was "thorough and complete." Two husbands and a boyfriend have been charged with murdering three female soldiers in the US within the last year.