The Pentagon revealed Tuesday that military investigators made a grisly discovery this month when they stumbled upon additional human remains of a U.S. soldier killed during the Oct. 4 ambush in Niger.
Investigators with the FBI and U.S. military were dispatched to Niger to determine what happened and answer questions about whether the forces had adequate intelligence, equipment, and took proper security precautions. The team visited the site of the attack on Nov. 12 and interviewed local villagers as well as retraced actions leading up to, during and after the ambush.
It was then they found “additional human remains,” according to the Pentagon
Pentagon spokeswoman Dana W. White said in a statement that the Armed Forces Medical Examiner has positively identified these remains belonging to Sgt. La David T. Johnson.
Johnson was missing for two days following the deadly militant assault on a joint-patrol of a dozen members of the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha, or “A-Team” and 30 Nigerien troops.
The U.S. military feared he fell in enemy hands before the Nigeriens found his body. The grim finding brought the final tally to four U.S. soldiers killed, five Nigerien troops killed, and three U.S. wounded. The others killed were Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright.
The Pentagon did not say whether the discovery of remains has added to their understanding of what happened while he was missing.
Myeshia Johnson, the soldier’s widow, later told “Good Morning America” she wasn’t allowed to view her husband’s remains before he was buried at home in Florida on Oct. 21.
“Why couldn’t I see my husband? Every time I asked to see my husband, they wouldn’t let me,” she said. “They told me that he’s in a severe wrap — like I won’t be able to see him. I need to see him so I will know that that is my husband.”
“They won’t show me a finger, a hand,” she said. “I know my husband’s body from head to toe, and they won’t let me see anything. I don’t know what’s in that box. It could be empty for all I know, but I need to see my husband. I haven’t seen him since he came home.”
The Pentagon said it expects the report into the ambush to be completed and publicly released after the New Year.