Mysterious death of a US soldier in Iraq

On Friday, January 20, Katherine Patricia Singleton was killed in Iraq. That’s all the information there is. No rank, no location, no cause, just her name on the list at icasualties.org.

There’s a short article in her local newspaper, The Pensacola (FL) News Journal with a dateline of January 21, but not much in the way of detail there, either:

Army soldier Katherine P. Singleton is the daughter of Doryce Blake and Maryon Singleton, who resides in Myrtle Grove.

Singleton on Friday night confirmed his daughter’s death but declined further comment.

Details surrounding her death were not available late Friday.

According to Pensacola News Journal archives, Katherine Singleton enlisted in the Army’s Delayed Entry Program in 2001.

They followed up with a blurb in the Sunday edition of the paper, but there wasn’t much new information:

The Department of Defense on Sunday has not yet confirmed the death of Army soldier Katherine Patricia Singleton, a former Escambia High student who reportedly died Friday in Iraq.

The Web site, iCasualty.org, listed Singleton and two unidentified service members as casualties Friday in Iraq.

The Defense Department listed the service members as two Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). They were killed in action by a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in Haqlaniyah.

The Marines’ names are being withheld until their families are notified.

Singleton’s father, Maryon Singleton, a Myrtle Grove resident, confirmed his daughter’s death Friday. Family members declined comment Sunday.

Singleton is the third local casualty in Iraq since October.

The official Pentagon news release site confirms and now lists the names of the two Marines who died in Haqlaniyah. No mention of Singleton, however.

So what’s going on here? The comments to the post on Atrios Eschaton where I first read about the mystery are full of speculation. There are several links to a story on truthout.org which reports on testimony from Colonel — formerly Brigadier General — Janis Karpinski, who, as the former commandant of the Abu Ghraib prison is the only senior miltary official penalized for the torture which went on in the prison. Karpinski, testifying before the non-official Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration claimed that “several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women’s latrine after dark.” (A whole new level of scandal for our troops, if true. I don’t see any convincing evidence other than the testimony of Karpinski.)

Some commenters suggest that Singleton may be victim of a rape which the military is trying to cover up. Some speculate that she amy have been used as a combat troop against regulations. Others suggest that the whole thing is a hoax, perpetrated for some unknown reason.

I don’t have any answers, although I have emailed the reporter of the original article asking if she has any more info. I’ll update if there’s anything to report. It seems like the story here is the lack of a story, but anyway you look at it, there’s something strange going on.

 
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UPDATE 2-3-06 7:05pm EST: I just received a response from Angela Fail, the reporter who wrote the original story:

This has been a challenging story to track down. Katherine’s father confirmed her death but has refused to discuss any of the circumstances surrrounding it since then. We’ve been waiting on information from the Department of Defense, but have yet to receive any.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

(Thanks, Angela, for replying so quickly!)