(NewsNation) — A newly obtained report from the U.S. Army conflicts with claims that a soldier and mother of three killed herself while serving overseas.
Instead, a casualty report lists U.S. Army Pfc. Denisha Montgomery’s “category of death” as “pending.” Also, under a section to list circumstances of death, it states: “Determination pending.”
These details are an affirmation to Montgomery’s family, who received an initial report and don’t think she took her own life. The military says it was German authorities — and not the Army — who initially ruled the case a suicide.
Montgomery’s family says that ruling doesn’t add up. They have texts and video messages from Montgomery that claim she was assaulted by fellow military police on July 19, 21 days before she was found dead.
“How dare you allow my niece’s death to be in vain?” said Tomeka Light, Montgomery’s aunt who is also an Army veteran. “How dare you prematurely tell us that the strong, beautiful individual took her life?”
In a statement to NewsNation, the Army said the investigation is ongoing and that they will provide the family “a comprehensive update once the investigation is complete.”
“The Army has not yet made a final determination of the cause or manner of Spc. Denisha Montgomery’s death,” it also said in the statement. The military’s Criminal Investigation Department “is conducting a comprehensive investigation which will remain open until all leads have been addressed and the medical examiner issues a final determination of the cause and manner of death.”
Montgomery was found dead Aug. 9 in her barracks in Germany. She was assigned to the 139th Military Police Company stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany for the summer.
On July 19, she made a frantic video call to her family and asked them to record it.
“I just want to come home. Look what they did to me,” Montgomery said in the recorded video. She is seen with serious bruises and open wounds on her body.
In a 12-minute video call with her family, she said she went with a group of military police from her unit, off-base to a water park, and said they had been drinking. On the car ride back, she said, they assaulted her.
Then in August, 21 days later, she was found dead.
Montgomery’s sister, Jada, said there is more to the story that doesn’t add up to them, something the military purportedly told the family about what happened at the water park — before the alleged assault in the car took place.
“The [U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division] told us on the phone that on that night at the water park, two individuals — that were not with her — tried to sexually assault her in a restroom. But [the Army] stated clearly that the people that were with her, they tried to chase them down and they were trying to help her,” Jada Montgomery said.
Light told NewsNation “no one has inquired with the family about the assault.”
“We have taken it upon ourselves to collect all evidence, to show that Denisha was not suicidal, to show that she was attacked and afraid for her life and to show that she was ready to come back home,” she said.