An Army medical examiner has ruled the death of Staff Sgt. Amy Seyboth Tirador a suicide, Tirador’s mother said Thursday.
Colleen Murphy, however, said she continues to believe her daughter was murdered and that the Army is covering up the real reason she was killed.
Murphy spoke at a news conference on the three-month anniversary of her daughter’s death on Nov. 4. The conference was at the Joseph E. Zaloga American Legion Post in Latham, where Tirador, a former Colonie resident, was made a life member after her death.
Murphy said she will never accept that her 29-year-old daughter killed herself while stationed at the U.S. Army’s Camp Caldwell in Kirkush, Iraq.
“I will not allow it. Amy would never kill herself,” she said.
“There is so much proof to show she did not kill herself. I know I will never find out the answers or who pulled the trigger,” Murphy said. “But I will not allow the government to take Amy’s dignity away.”
The Army’s investigation of Tirador’s death remains open, according to Jeffrey Castor of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command.
Murphy said an Army medical examiner told her a month ago her daughter’s death was a suicide. After the medical examiner’s ruling, she said, the Army began to investigate Tirador’s life to determine what could have triggered her to kill herself.
“They were trying to explain that women in the Army who are dying are considered suicides, that they are considered weak,” Murphy said.
The Army asked whether Tirador did drugs or drank, which she didn’t, Murphy said. The Army also told Murphy that Tirador was under pressure from her superiors to complete translation reports involving interviews with Iraqis.
Tirador was an Arabic translator with the 209th Military Intelligence Company, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at the time of her death.
Murphy said Tirador and her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Michael “Mickey” Tirador, were having marital problems, but the problems were not extreme.
Amy Tirador was not receiving counseling nor was she on report to her superiors at the time of her death, her mother said.
Murphy said she has hired a private investigator and attorney to help her determine how her daughter died.
“This was premeditated. It was a setup,” Murphy said.
Tirador was found dead Nov. 4 inside a building within the perimeter of Camp Caldwell, a secure base. She had been shot in the head, Murphy said.
Tirador disappeared after she left her living quarters at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 to walk to her work as an Arabic-speaking military intelligence gatherer on the base, her mother said.
The Army is dealing with a rash of suicides, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
It reported 160 active-duty Army suicides in 2009, up from 140 in 2008. Of those, 114 have been confirmed, while the manner of death in the remaining 46 remains to be determined.
Ann Wright, a retired U.S. Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department, has written about the rash of suicides and rapes among female soldiers overseas, also alleging a coverup.
She said between 2003 and August 2008, the deaths of 13 Army women and one Navy woman in Iraq and Afghanistan were classified as suicides.