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Tennessee authorities investigating suspicious death of former Bragg soldier

The mysterious death of a former Fort Bragg soldier in Tennessee has his widow in Fayetteville searching for answers.

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Gilbert Baez
, WRAL reporter
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The mysterious death of a former Fort Bragg soldier in Tennessee has his widow in Fayetteville searching for answers.

Donovan Crittendon, 26, who was working for the prison system in Tennessee, disappeared on June 3, and his body was found in the Cumberland River near Hartsville, Tenn., about 50 miles northeast of Nashville, six days later.

Jessica Crittendon, who still lives near Fort Bragg with the couple's 2- and 5-year-old daughters, said that her husband's roommate told her that Donovan Crittendon was last seen getting into a truck with an off-duty deputy who had responded to a domestic disturbance at the apartment complex where Donovan Crittendon was staying. The deputy, Keith Holder, later reported having an accident near the river, Jessica Crittendon said, but the accident wasn't reported until 20 hours later.

The truck was pulled from a 35-foot-deep section of the river on June 9, shortly before Donovan Crittendon's body was found.

A medical examiner's preliminary findings listed Donovan Crittendon's cause of death as drowning, but his wife believes there's more to it.

"As far as any other types of wounds or the cause or manner of death, none of that has been expressed to me officially," she said Wednesday. "My gut feeling is that someone did something harmful to Donovan. He tried to protect himself, and he ended up dead."

Jessica Crittendon said she has gotten no cooperation from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and she has hired Fayetteville attorney Allen Rogers to help her get answers about her husband's death.

WRAL News has been unable to contact Holder.

Rogers said Holder has been fired from his law enforcement job.

"Failing to report that incident for 20 hours and certainly not reporting that Donovan Crittendon was in the vehicle with him are probably the basis of that," Rogers said.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said Wednesday that the case remains under investigation.

"Our investigation remains active and ongoing. Throughout the investigation, we provide our findings to the DA, and at the conclusion of our case, those findings will be reviewed by that office," DeVine said in a statement.

No charges have been filed in the case.


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