Soldier once warned family: Investigate if I die
Ciara Durkin warned her family before returning to Afghanistan, "If anything happens to me, you guys make sure it gets investigated."
What seemed a joke at the time could have been eerily prescient as Durkin, a National Guard specialist, was found dead, shot once in the head, within the fortified walls of Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. The Pentagon is releasing no details aside from confirmation that Durkin's was a "non-combat" death.
"We just want full disclosure," Durkin's sister Deirdre said on CBS's Early Show Thursday.
Now Durkin's family is demanding an independent investigation and has enlisted the help of Sens. John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, who represent their home state of Massachusetts.
Although Durkin was gay, her family does not believe her death had anything to do with that. But Durkin, who worked in a finance office, told her family that she had uncovered some information that would upset other military officials.
"She was in the finance unit and she said, 'I discovered some things I don’t like and I made some enemies because of it.' Then she said, in her light-hearted way, 'If anything happens to me, you guys make sure it gets investigated,'" Durkin's older sister, Fiona Canavan, told The Patriot Ledger. "But at the time we thought it was said more as a joke."
Durkin died last Friday of a single gun-shot wound, but the Army has not said whether a weapon was found near her body. The Defense Department says it is investigating the incident, according to reports.
The family told Television interviewers that they didn't believe Durkin killed herself because she seemed upbeat on a recent trip home. Only hours before her death, Durkin left her brother a cheerful voicemail and sang happy birthday to him, the family told ABC News.
“(The military) is definitely holding back,” Canavan told the Boston Herald. “As to why we can only speculate.”
The following video clips are from CBS's Early Show, broadcast on October 4, 2007.