A 19-year-old soldier was discovered dead in her Fort Bliss barracks in Texas on New Year’s Eve, and her family is demanding answers from the military after saying she was sexually assaulted.
Private First Class Asia Graham, of Cherryville, North Carolina, was found unresponsive on the base in El Paso on Thursday and was later pronounced dead by Fort Bliss Department of Emergency Services staff.
An investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding Graham’s death.
However, family members have told WCNC Charlotte that Graham was sexually assaulted by another soldier while stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.
Pfc Asia Graham, 19, was found unresponsive in her barracks at Fort Bliss on Thursday and was later pronounced dead
Family members say Asia was sexually assaulted by another soldier at Fort Bliss
Her brother, Andrew Koenigsfeld, said she had a ‘heart of gold’ and always looked to motivate people
Her family is pushing the Army for answers after claiming it failed to protect her after she reported her alleged sexual assault
They said Graham reported the assault to the Army but her mother, Nicole Graham, accused the military of failing to protect her.
‘She was ready to fight,’ said her brother, Andrew Koenigsfeld. ‘Then that got taken away.’
He described his sister as having a ‘heart of gold’ and said she was a motivational force.
‘Every day, every time I talked to my sister, she always preaches, ‘Go get your goals.’ What do you want to do with your life?” Koenigsfeld said.
As of Monday evening, US Army officials have not revealed how the 19-year-old soldier died.
Graham was a human resource specialist who joined the Army in July 2019.
She arrived at Fort Bliss in December 2019 after completing Basic Combat Training in Missouri and Advanced Individual Training in South Carolina.
Graham was assigned to I-501st Attack Battalion, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade from Charlotte, KHOU11 reported.
An Army has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Graham’s death in the base in El Paso, Texas
‘PFC Asia Graham was a valued member of the Iron Eagle Team,’ her division wrote in a Facebook post. ‘Her loss is felt not just in our formations but across the Army. We lost a skilled human resource specialist who wanted nothing more than to serve her country and her battle buddies.’
Graham’s awards and decorations included the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Army Service Ribbon.
Graham’s death took place just hours before another female soldier from Texas, Sgt Jessica Mitchell, 30, was found fatally shot multiple times inside her car on Interstate 10. She was on holiday leave at the time.
Sgt Jessica Mitchell (left and right), 30, was found dead in her car on New Year’s Day after being shot multiple times. Police said she was killed on Interstate 10 in San Antonio
Mitchell was assigned as a dental specialist to US Army Medical Center of Excellence on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. She is survived by her 10-year-old son.
So far, no arrests have been made in connection to Mitchell’s killing.
The back-to-back deaths of Graham and Mitchell come just days after partial human skeletal remains were found near Salado Creek at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
Another Army base in Texas, Fort Hood, has been in the news in recent months after the disappearances of three soldiers who were later found dead, including Spc Vanessa Guillen.
According to investigators, Guillen, 20, was bludgeoned to death on the base by Spc. Aaron Robinson, who killed himself on July 1 as police were trying to take him into custody.