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Feb-13-2014 18:52printcommentsVideo

LaVena Johnson: Army Still Calls Grisly Rape and Murder 'Suicide'

LaVena's father had to seek Congressional intervention just to receive the details of the death investigation.

LaVena Johnson
LaVena Johnson was a deployed American soldier in Iraq.

(SALEM) - "My daughter was raped, beaten, murdered, set on fire, then they tried to burn the tent down with her body in it." John Johnson, father of LaVena, should never have had to say those words. His daughter suffered greatly before dying.

Linda and LaVena Johnson

But the army called her death a suicide.

The details surrounding the death of a 19-year old soldier named LaVena Johnson at Balad, Iraq, are horrible beyond the wildest imagination, and her family has to live with that every day.

The army lied repeatedly and was caught in those lies, LaVena's father had to seek a Congressional act just to receive the details of the investigation.

It all made sense too, the army was reluctant because they were trying to cover up a brutal sex crime and murder. The victim was an exemplary soldier, daughter and human being according to those who knew her.

Her death is one more terrible result of the country's decision to wage a war largely with contractors and mercenaries.

News poet Luke Easter

The hired hands got away with Murder in Iraq. Simply stated, civilians were not held to the standards of the military, even though they were authorized to use force against Iraqi people.

Not only have the contractors evaded justice from years of murdering Iraqi citizens; their shield allowed them to rape and abuse and murder this young woman, whose life was all ahead of her.

Salem-News.com writer and poet Luke Easter and I have written at length about LeVena Johnson, it is good that the matter has not gone away, her family is not about to let that happen. The story continues below with images and videos and links to our past reports.

Balad, Iraq in a sandstorm. Salem-News.com photo by Tim King

I was at Balad air base while covering the Iraq war during the summer of 2008. I wish I had already know about her death in July 2005, but I did not. However I have studied the case at length and find it to be among the most offensive stories for Americans, and for parents.

Contractor tent where LaVena's body was found

The hidden revelation that LaVena Johnson was not in her barracks at the time of her death, as the Dept of Defense initially reported, is the kind of information that had to be shaken out of the U.S. Army, the federal agency specifically involved in the coverup of information regarding her death. It does not take a rocket scientist to know and see that Pfc Johnson was murdered. Her father says part of her vagina had been surgically removed.

And the army calls her death a suicide.

Linda Johnson, mother of Private First Class LaVena Johnson, received the flag of a nation that betrayed her daughter's innocence and her dignity. It has hard to imagine what type of people were charged with investigating the case. As a reporter in Iraq, I was pursued by the Army's CID (Criminal Investigation Division) for having photographed particular areas at a base in Kuwait. That story exemplifies the absurd nature of CID, an agency that isn't interested in real crimes.

The Johnson Family Story

The Silent Truth

Some of our past reports on LaVena Johnson; we won't forget her, you shouldn't either...

Jul-23-2013: Woman Given 16 Months for Reporting Her Rape & George Zimmerman? - Poem by Luke Easter Salem-News.com

Jul-19-2013: President Obama Discusses Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath - Poem by Luke Easter Salem-News.com

May-20-2013: Military Sexual Trauma: Continuing Ignored Super Epidemic - Dr. Phillip Leveque Doctor of Pharmacology Salem-News.com

Apr-29-2013: President Obama Calls Jason Collins - Poem by Luke Easter Salem-News.com

Dec-20-2012: Leon Panetta v. Crimes Of The Highest Nature - Poem by Luke Easter Salem-News.com

Jul-03-2012: Jamie Leigh Jones, Assaulted Twice? - Poetry by Luke Easter Salem-News.com

Jun-15-2012: Military Rape Back in Headlines Services Increasingly Appearing as Broken Institutions - Tim King and Dr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com

Apr-19-2012: Secret Service Agents Forced Out - Poetry by Luke Easter Salem-News.com

Mar-27-2012: Trayvon Martin vs. PFC Johnson, LeVena Lynn - Poetry by Luke Easter Salem-News.com

May-16-2011: Military Rape: (SOP) Standard Operating Procedure - Dr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com

Feb-15-2010: Poetic Verses Shed Light on LaVena Johnson's Military Rape and Murder in Iraq - Poems by Luke Easter foreword by Tim King Salem-News.com

Dec-04-2009: DOD Task Force On Sexual Assault Submits Findings, Recommendations - Salem-News.com

Dec-18-2008: Army Should Reopen Investigation Into Death of Pfc Lavena Johnson (VIDEO) - Tim King Salem-News.com



Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

aniggagonnanig February 23, 2021 5:15 am (Pacific time)

You people are stupid sheep...

On July 19, 2011, the criminal justice students in the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute (CCIRI) run as a student club by three universities, selected Johnson's case as their case for investigation. The CCIRI's crime scene reconstruction aimed to help shed light on this case that has attracted worldwide attention.[11] The CCIRI investigation did not agree with nor dispute the Army's findings. Sheryl McCollum of the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute calls the case "gut-wrenching." McCollum says the institute normally spends one year on a case, but spent three years on the LaVena Johnson case. In a phone interview with St. Louis Public Radio, McCollum said that she faults the Army for poor communication, but she does not disagree with its conclusion.

"The problem is – number one – the way the notification happened. And the lack of information given to that family fast enough," McCollum said. "There was nothing about this case that we could go back to the Army to say you need to re-look at it," she said. "We didn't have anything new. We didn't have anything that suggested wrongdoing."

EDITOR: Says you- an "anonymous" commenter with an obvious bias toward the perps. In no way are you not a sheep, by your own standards. Thanks for sharing. 

ejr November 22, 2020 8:07 pm (Pacific time)

I saw the father's pictures of this martered child of GOD! these EVIL contractors of the army removed her tongue and split her mouth,jaw and teeth in half. She had a broken face and it looked like her back and hips were broken. Hoping One day soon t All Involved will be in JAIL!!

zenobia December 10, 2015 12:55 pm (Pacific time)

Things were nicer back in the 50's. Many years ago I met a nice elderly lady at the VA hospital in Salisbury NC who, after reporting that she had been raped by her CO, was promptly lobotomized.

Portia D November 6, 2015 11:10 pm (Pacific time)

This makes me sick to my stomach knowing and hearing all of this. My son is inly 13 but is looking to go into the army as he gets older and me as a concerned parent am worried because if things are bad now who is to say things will not get worst by the time he is old enough to enlist himself. This aline makes me wanna tell my son that I do not want him to do this as he gets older,when in fact my family historybis nithing but military veterans. So truely sad. My heart goes out to the family of Ms. JOHNSON

Mike October 13, 2015 9:54 pm (Pacific time)

Raped, murdered and mutilated. I served in the Army and this makes me sick.

Law Abiding Citizen August 18, 2015 4:31 pm (Pacific time)

From an objective point of view, without having all the evidence, the cause of death was most likely a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head (through the mouth). There are other questions that should have been investigated, specifically assault and sexual assault. Just from this article alone there is no way of knowing what was found out in the Army's investigation of the incident. Although, not so objectively, it would appear from the article that the writer knew everything that happened and how CID "should" have done it's job. Very distasteful in my opinion.

Anonymous January 12, 2015 8:08 pm (Pacific time)

This is very simple to figure out. Raped, murdered ie gun shot to head, burned and dismembered ie part of vagina removed. suicide? no way. Bush sent our fighters to war without armaments. There were parents who were sending bullet proof vest and metal plates for Military Humvees, which Bush did not demand. He also did not have anyone view the gaskets of personnel as they returned. Don't forget when our President has corrected many of the problems with this war and the VA. I don't agree with having women on the front lines but if they are, women should be given the same respect as any man. Anonymous, you should show respect to a fellow soldier. The focus should be on the conduct unbecoming of a soldier. If you know something pass it on. This killer is among us now. He might be after someone in your family or mine. This is not the time to be a side liner. Do something. Pass the post on for someone who might has some knowledge of what has happened in this murder and have them this pass this info on. Jim Step and I can take care of myself.

Dina December 8, 2014 7:24 am (Pacific time)

I pray for the family to have strength and for this country ... to find the truth and the evil persons involved.. they will have to answer ,,, to the Almighty .. RIP Ms. Johnson .. God is with you

Anonymous February 15, 2014 6:27 pm (Pacific time)

The national crime stats can be found very easily at the U.S. Justice Department website. It's pretty clear who the highest violent causing group is, and if you want to apply "perverts" to them and a president who is a war monger with a less than 50 IQ, then Obama fits that description. More Americans were killed in his first 2 years in Afghanistan than the previous 8 years when the president was a military Jet Pilot who loves our military and our veterans...Obama and the democrats have always shit on the active duty and our veterans. Obama has always been a thug and grifter who lost the middle east to the radicals as he blasts away on the golf links. Soon all those SAM's Hillary Clinton/John Kerry gave the radicals will be doing more terror. Unfortunately Obama closed our Cuban prison, so where we gonna house them? The girl who killed herself joins hundreds of other females who did the same. You have a whitehouse conman who wants to continually demonstrate his incompetence. Follow the money, and soon you will see how our system of government deals with treason...

That's pretty funny when your entire motive is treasonous.  Of course you have no name because you are a paid shill.  Too bad you drop by here, your tiny little brain is racist and foul.  I only publish your comment to help people get more fired up about this case.  I can only imagine your regard for women.  Oh by the way, everything you ever post in the future will not be approved.  

Anonymous February 15, 2014 12:43 pm (Pacific time)

If this case has so much merit, where is the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, Sharpton, Spike Lee, etc.? Nothing will happen unless this becomes high profile, and if it does, a new investigation will come to the same conclusion. This is about money, except you now have a black CIC and he's too busy on the golf links. There have always been questionable deaths in the military time immemorial. I say look at the current national violent rates and break that down to see who the primary offenders are...facts people, not opinion/emotion...that is how you develop solutions.

Facts?  What is a national violent rate?  The offenders are perverts and people whose opportunity to harm others was created by a warmonger president with an IQ of -50.

Seeking Justice February 14, 2014 1:40 pm (Pacific time)

It is not surprising that there is an anonymous shill that would suggest that the military conducted an honest investigation.

Since no human being in his or her right mind could ever actually believe that, Anonymous has actually bolstered the truth with such an asinine rebuttal.

Anonymous February 14, 2014 10:12 am (Pacific time)

It's not unusual for individuals to do this both in combat a zone and upon returning back to the states. PTSD is not dependent on geographical location. Due diligent investigation was done and the young lady simply took her own life, and this happens in all war ones. Of course the conspiracy folks will always disagree with evidence, and that is what also happens with regularity.

You're seriously writing this?  

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