06-27-2010, 09:08 PM #31
Thank you Denny. I appreciate you taking the time to look at what I have written (I apologize it was so lengthy! )
I am at a loss to interpet regs myself Denny. It has been my experience that even CDR's and 1SGT's don't intepret regs. They contact the legal department of the facility in which the unit is located and ask on a daily basis how to handle cases involving soldiers.
Off topic: When we were stationed at Fort Hood, all questions about regs and such were sent up to III Corps. The only reason I know that is I am only familiar with the regs that directly effect family members and the FRG program (Family Readiness Group) and had to ask the Rear Detach CDR many times to send a request for interpretation of regs on behalf of the two reasons I listed above.
06-27-2010, 09:24 PM #32
Kat, I really appreciate your input regarding military regs and procedure since my knowled in that area is quite limited. It was stated downthread that Patrick's belongings were secured within 48-72 hours after his disappearance. In practice, would you (or your husband from his experience) consider that a "normal" timeframe in this type of situation, meaning one where there were no apparent indication that a subject was likely to abscond? TIA
06-28-2010, 04:32 AM #33
06-28-2010, 09:52 AM #34Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2010
- Las Vegas, Nevada
What great posts and questions!
Kat and I have been going back and forth discussing whether the Ssgt had the authority to inventory and remove Patrick's personal effects from the apartment - see my post from yesterday at 8:57 pm.
When I was researching the regulation Kat referred to I was intrigued by the two categories - Absent and Absent Without Leave. That raised a question in my mind regarding how Patrick's disappearance was classified and at what point.
The definition of an Absent soldier under that particular regulation says, "When soldiers are absent from their units under unusual circumstances..." Based on three documents I have reviewed, I wonder if Patrick qualified as an Absent soldier - at least initially - rather than an AWOL.
The sworn statements that the roomie and the Ssgt gave military investigators both included wording that it was out of character for Patrick to miss formations; that he had just reenlisted and was looking forward to his new assignment to the state of Washington. The report of the Watertown Police Dept. dated 3/19/07 shows that the roomie and Ssgt came to the PD on that date to report that Patrick had not been seen or heard from since the the night of March 15-16 and that this was not his normal behavior. The report said the incident was being treated as an "attempt to locate." On the followind day, 3/20, Patrick's parents came to the PD at separate times to report him as a missing person.
Was Patrick's disappearance "under unusual circumstances" rather than a clear AWOL? It probably doesn't matter in the great scheme of things, but I'll be interested in learning when Patrick was classified as what.
I have also seen the inventory form the Ssgt filled out. It is dated 3/19, but doesn't specify the time of day or the location from which the items were impounded. That can be important because Patrick had belongings in the barracks as well as the apartment. There is no question that the barracks inventory was totally within the Army's authority. But there aren't two inventory documents, so I'm assuming the one I've seen is a combination of items removed from both locations.
There is no way to tell from that form whether the inventory of the apartment took place before or after the roomie and SSgt went to the PD on 3/19. But it definitely occured before Patrick was officially reported as missing and before a police investigation would commence. It should also be noted that on the PD report of 3/19 there is no mention that Patrick's personal effects had already been removed from the apartment or that there was a plan to do so.
As a side note, when Judy Rust questioned the authorities at Fort Drum regarding Patrick's belongings in the summer of 2007, they said the property had already been turned over to her ex-husband. She asked if that included items from the apartment. Their response was pretty much, "What apartment?" Their paperwork made no mention of the off-post location. Judy subsequently received a letter from the Army admitting they should have released Patrick's personal belongings to her and not her ex.
Judy plans to schedule a meeting with CID at Fort Drum early next month. She intends to point out what she feels was a gross mishandling of Patrick's case, including the removal of his off-post belongings and a less than adequate investigation. She hopes they'll agree to take a second look and has asked me to accompany her.
We're compiling a list of questions to ask at that meeting. Any suggestions you have for that list are welcome.Denny Griffin
06-28-2010, 08:45 PM #35
To answer your question simply yes it would have been SOP to see Patrick's belongings secured anywhere after 24-78 hours after the process started to classify him as AWOL.
This is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). It is by the Reg from what I've seen so far. I haven't seen any docs to contradict that the SSG didn't get assigned this task (doing Inventory of an AWOL soldiers belongings is considered a menial task).
Why this SSG? IMHO and my Husband's I think it would be safe to assume since he was the same SSG that got the call that Patrick wouldn't be in formation later that morning and he was the same SSG assigned to inventory Patrick's belongings then that SSG was more than likely Patrick's Squad leader or could have very well been his Platoon Leader (if that unit was short the needed NCO's/ JR. Officers needed to fill that position, it happens often).
About the taking the inventory of absentee baggage for an AWOL soldier. Even off post housing.
The SSG wouldn't have gone alone to inventory Patrick's belongings. It is considered a menial task as I said and there would have been more than just the SSG and the Roommate there. Not just my Humble opinion. If there wasn't then---that's something we would need to know and then discuss.
When they inventoried Patrick's belongings we have to remember that it's not just his personal belongings that would have been inventoried. It would include all of his Military issue (TA-50, etc.) That can take a bit of time and must be done on the proper forms.
An E-7 or above must sign off on that inventory once it is back at the unit and getting ready to be placed in storage for the AWOL Soldier.
I'm not saying the SSG isn't involved with Patrick's murder, I'm just saying that looking at the circumstances as they've been outlined so far, all I'm seeing is that SSG was doing what he was told to do. That would have been an oral directive by the one in the Command Team. It would have come from the mouth of the 1SGT more than likely but could have very well come from the CDR of that unit. (I'm also not saying that the roommate did not move or remove some of Patrick's belongings before the SSG and the other members of the unit got to the apartment to inventory Patrick's belongings!)
FWIW Bessie, every single day each military member must be accounted. It must be notated who's on leave, who's on medical profile, who's in formation and active on the job----lot's of categories.
As for starting the process of changing Patrick's official military status as AWOL it is something that the command team had to do if they did not have any contact with Patrick after 24 hours of that missed formation.
The Roommates phone call was a huge red flag. But the command team wouldn't have started the process at that time.
The status of AWOL has nothing to do with Patrick being missing is what I'm trying to say---it's something that has to be done because of regs.
I hope I gave you more insight
Last edited by Kat; 06-28-2010 at 09:34 PM. Reason: add a sentence.
06-28-2010, 08:53 PM #36
It's important to know who Patrick had listed on his DD93 form as next of kin.
If you don't mind once you outline the questions you have for the CID could you give us a brief synopsis of what you are going to ask?
Denny, you are more than likely going to be sitting in a room with Officers as well as CID investigators. Does Patrick's Mother know of an officer on Fort Drum that can go with her during this interview?
IMHE (in my humble experience) it helps to have an officer within the chain of command (Patrick's old unit) to sit with you when going into a meeting like this.
No particular reason other than to provide moral support and make sure you don't get smoke blown up your wazoo. Not that the military is more prone to do that, it happens in civilian LE meetings too.
06-28-2010, 09:24 PM #37
FWIW, and only IMHO this is going to sound harsh but it's not said that way in my head, it's said with the utmost respect and with compassion for Patrick's Mom.
She needs to find a focus for her complaint. If the military did screw up the inventory of Patrick's belongings and released them to the wrong person. Then by all means, she should be extended an apology and also she can rest assured (even is she is not told this) that the Soldiers within that chain of command that caused the errors will be reprimanded.
IMHO she needs to focus on why the Civilian authorities are not actively investigating Patrick's case.
IMHO, the military can only investigate his death to a certain extent. Their hands are tied so to speak because 1. Patrick was off post when the crime against him happened. 2. His body was discovered off post.
It's the Civilian LE that has to work this and why aren't they? I would like to know what excuse they have for giving Patrick's case an inactive status?
It's inexcusable that the DET in Patrick's is not taking his Mother's calls. Shame on him.
I have no experience in those matters but I'm sure there are WS members who know what avenues to take to get attention once again on Patrick's case.
06-28-2010, 09:44 PM #38
Thanks so much for taking the time to explain, Kat. Obviously, the question in my mind was whether or not someone higher up the chain of command was in a hurry to sweep dirt under the proverbial rug. At least now I know that the timeframe for the inventory was SOP, and I certainly understand the need to secure standard issue expediently. That's not something to be left lying around unattended. On the other hand, where foul play is suspected, it seems that military procedure comes in conflict with what would be considered SOP from a law enforcement standpoint. That's an interesting twist that hasn't come up in other cases I've followed, at least not that I can recall right now. I hope you don't mind if I ask more questions when I've had time to give this more thought.
06-28-2010, 09:51 PM #39
I'm going to try to give a brief definition of the following terms. I, in no way, can cite AR or interpret how they are used, I am only defining these terms as I, personally, have seen them used in the past:
1. AWOL- Absent WithOut Leave. This means simply put that the Soldier has not been in contact with his Chain of Command and did not request and/or was not granted leave from duty.
2. Absent (under unusual circumstances)- Broad category. Could include special circumstances of 1. Being attached to another unit and but not PCSed to that unit. The Soldier is (in civilian terms) on loan to another unit because of his job skill/training (MOS). 2. The soldier has no leave accrued and due to a death in his/her family requests to go home (away from duty). At that point in time he/she is absent but not on leave. 3. The Soldier has an ill relative (Mother, Father, Sibling) that the presence of the Soldier has been requested (usually through RC channels) and the soldier is granted leave under unusual circumstances (allowing soldier to take leave with no accrued leave or has accrued leave but needs to not use those days because of another reason for that leave to be used, in my experience I've seen this extended to Soldiers who's wife was due to have a baby, the leave had been requested for use for that baby and then the Soldier's Mother had a stroke and was not expected to pull through...etc.)
Again, I am not a subject matter expert but I hope that my broad definitions have cleared up some questions.
06-28-2010, 09:55 PM #40
That the matter would have been worked out being the Chain of Command (higher than the unit CDR which was probably a CPT) and the Civilian LE.
In the cases of the Military being contacted prior to going to an offpost home, and told that the home was or could possibly be a crime scene, then the Military definately holds off.
I see nothing to indicate that the Military had been informed that the apartment was a potential crime scene. At that point in time they were doing what they had to do by regs. All JMHO.
(FWIW, I have seen this done in cases where there a was dual Military couple, a murder-suicide. The Military held off until getting clearance from the Civilian LE to go in and inventory the military issue at that home. There was no need to inventory personal belongings of the couple because one of their family members came from afar to be there at that time, they had been there to take care of details of the funerals and the children left behind).
Last edited by Kat; 06-28-2010 at 09:58 PM. Reason: add the last paragraph.
06-28-2010, 09:55 PM #41
Kat...totally , but I gotta say this, at once upon a long time ago, I was an Ombudsman (ex-hubby was Navy), you are the bomb on this stuff!
I hope you DH appreciates how much you know about the inner workings of the Military!<Click on User CP>
Scroll down and on the left
<Click on Edit Ignore List>
In add a Member to your list
<start typing the name of the person you want to ignore>
<Click on OKay>
IF WE COOK IT THEY WILL COME!
06-28-2010, 10:06 PM #42
It is my honor and it is a blessing that I have been afforded the opportunity to help other military families not only find the resources they need to survive our current combat environment ( within the military) but to thrive.
I can't solve their problems. However, I can by keeping myself informed, refer them to the proper resources.
I am now an Army Mom too. It is an even greater honor to work with the Mom's and Dad's that don't understand the in's and out's of the great machine of the Army.
I would consider it a great honor to help Patrick's Mother access any resources she needs during her time of grief. God bless her.
06-28-2010, 10:08 PM #43
Wanttohelp: That's a great site. I've only scanned a couple of pages, but I can see that it addresses questions pertinent to Patrick's case. Should make good reading.
Denny: Did civilian LE have a look-see of the apartment? Did they go through Patrick's belongings?
06-28-2010, 10:38 PM #44
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2008
The article above is for the WS members that are looking for articles outlining Patrick's death.
It includes a picture of Patrick. Very handsome young man, may he rest in peace.
06-28-2010, 10:40 PM #45
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