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Army closes investigation into Bragg baby deaths

Posted May 5, 2011

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— Army investigators said Thursday that they have closed their examination of the unexplained deaths of young children in Fort Bragg housing without determining the cause of the children's deaths.

A dozen children under age 2 have died in homes on post since the beginning of 2007. Two infants died in the same house on post within three months, prompting the Army to launch an investigation last summer.

The Army Criminal Investigative Command and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission tested 10 homes where the babies lived with their families for problems with carbon monoxide, mercury vapor, mold, lead, asbestos, pesticides and toxins in the drywall. All tests were negative or were at levels well below the standard for human exposure set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, officials said.

Army Secretary John McHugh expressed frustration in late March with the lack of answers to the deaths and ordered a team of chemists, architects and environmental health experts to conduct another analysis.

CID spokesman Chris Grey said Thursday that all tests have turned up no leads, so the Army was closing the case on 10 of the deaths.

"After extensive testing and investigating, the review did not discover any evidence or information that points to criminality associated with the deaths or any identifiable common environmental link," Grey said in a statement.

The two most recent deaths, which occurred after CID have started its probe, will remain under investigation for now "to ensure that each death case garners all the investigative attention it deserves," he said.

CID will reopen any of the closed cases if new evidence surfaces, he said.

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  • hmmmmm May 6, 2011

    I wonder if they have tested for common things that don't immediatly show symptoms, like Valley Fever, Lyme Disease, Encephalitis, & most especially, hidden birth defects due to exposure of our troops to toxins in other countries, or vaccines forced on them, while deployed before the children were conceived (ala Agent Orange in the 60's - 70's, we KNOW the government hid that for untold years, illnesses & deaths). Just a thought....

  • esprg May 6, 2011

    Just wondering if there have been autopsies done on the babies to see if they have any similarities. I know it is difficult to think of this poor baby and the parents having to know their baby is under autopsy but at least see what if anything the test could be missing can find.

  • anneonymousone May 6, 2011

    Thank you, GeorgiaTech; I had wondered about the stats and had never read them.

    Proximity does not mean causality, and I'm sure that's not comforting to the parents whose children have died. My best thoughts are with them.

  • georgiatech May 6, 2011

    Nice try F650gs.... but you would need to back that up with actual statistics...

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/03/29/2180390/military-sure-housing-didnt-kill.html

    "The Army has said the average infant mortality rate from 2007 to 2009 for base residents at Fort Bragg was 5.3 deaths per 1,000 births. North Carolina's rate for 2009 was 7.9, the lowest in the state's history. For Cumberland County, where most of Fort Bragg's off-post population lives, the rate was 9.5 in 2009."

  • F650gs May 6, 2011

    I personally can't believe these cases are being closed. It is not statistically possible for all these deaths to occur on base...it is not a coincidence. I would hope that the military would provide extra housing allowance, if necessary, for all families with babies/young children to live off base. My heart goes out to all the families who lost their children!

  • dabink May 6, 2011

    Have the army commanders demonstrate that these houses are safe by asking them to have their closest relatives with babies live in the houses for an extended period of time.

  • mulecitybabe May 5, 2011

    I think it's time somebody besides the government investigated these deaths. Not saying anything, really, but they have too much of a reason to not find anything wrong.

    At the least, no kids under the age of 12 should be allowed in that housing area.