This story was hanging around the airwaves, briefly, about a week and a half ago. I think it's important not to let it die.
(CBS/AP) Exactly how Ciara Durkin died remains a mystery. The Army National Guard soldier from Massachusetts was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in Afghanistan last week, and now her family is demanding answers from the military.
Initially the Pentagon reported that Durkin, part of a finance unit deployed to Afghanistan in November 2006, had been killed in action, but then revised its statement to read she had died of injuries "suffered from a non-combat related incident" at Bagram Airfield. The statement had no specifics and said the circumstances are under investigation.
Durkin had a desk job doing payroll in an office about three miles inside the secure Bagram Air Base. About 90 minutes after she left work last Friday, her family says she was found dead near a chapel on the base with a single gunshot wound to the head.
The 30-year-old soldier, who was born in Ireland and came to the U.S. as a little girl, felt safer deployed in Afghanistan over Iraq, her family told CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace. Yet she was found dead within a highly secure base, with few answers.
"The family has been informed that she was in the compound, and she was shot in the head," Durkin's sister, Fiona Canavan, told the Boston Globe. "She was in a secure area of the compound, which, even though the investigation is not complete, leads the family to believe it was what is called friendly fire," she said.
Adding to the mystery is something the Army Specialist told her family: if something happened to her in Afghanistan, they should look into it. She was concerned about things she was seeing over there, one of her eight brothers and sisters said in an interview.
Canavan told the Quincy, Mass. Patriot Ledger on Wednesday that when her sister was home three weeks ago, she told her about something she had come across that raised some concern with her: "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.'"
Canavan revealed that Durkin said if anything happened to her, to make sure it was investigated.
"At the time we thought it was said more as a joke," Canavan told the paper.
The family is also wondering whether Durkin's sexual orientation - she was gay - played a role in her death.
"We just want full disclosure, that's all we want - to know what happened to our sister," Diedre Durkin said.
Massachusetts Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry and Rep. William Delahunt are pressing for answers.
I read this week that Ciara Durkin was laid to rest, after a funeral mass at St. John the Baptist church in Quincy, MA. I attended this church occasionally in the 1980's, when I lived in Quincy. Funny how a little connection like that can bring a story home to you.