Lawmaker asks Pentagon watchdog to examine military probe into paratrooper’s killing

Greg Nash

House Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) is asking a Pentagon watchdog to examine the military’s investigation into the death of a paratrooper.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Department of Defense Inspector General Sean O’Donnell, Torres requested the army to conduct a “full and independent” examination on the initial investigation in the death of Enrique Roman-Martinez. 

Roman-Martinez, 21, was reported missing in May 2020 after going on a camping trip with seven fellow soldiers on an island off the North Carolina coast, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Roman-Martinez, who was stationed at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, was found dead as his partial remains washed ashore near the camp. 

“As we look forward to the holiday season, Specialist Roman-Martinez should be with his family. He should have been already discharged from the military and settling into his new life. Instead, his family has spent over 16 months painfully waiting for justice with no end in sight. During this time, the family has lost all confidence in the Army Criminal Investigation Command,” Torres wrote in the letter.  

“That is why I urge the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General to conduct a full and independent examination of the response to and investigation of Roman-Martinez’s murder,” she added. 

Torres also wants a review on how the military communicated with Roman-Martinez’s family, addressed language barriers, the army’s treatment of any people of interest during the investigation, and whether any logistical or jurisdictional hurdles affected the speed of the probe.

This comes as the Army Criminal Investigation Command said in August it will offer up to $50,000 for credible information on the circumstances of Roman-Martinez’s death, according to the Times. 

The Army also said it has created a task force comprised of special agents and FBI personnel to investigate the matter

The task force has executed more than 100 warrants and subpoenas, interviewed more than 400 people across several states, and conducted seven land, sea and air searches on the island where Roman-Martinez died, the Times reported.

Tags Army Army Criminal Investigation Command Investigation military deaths Norma Torres North Carolina Pentagon

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