Navy investigators are looking into what role two members of SEAL Team Six might have played in the strangulation death of an Army Green Beret in Mali.
Two members of SEAL Team Six have been listed as “persons of interest” in the investigation into the June 4 death of Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, 34, Bamako, Mali.
Melgar was found dead in embassy housing he shared with the two SEALs and another special operations service member in the Mali capital, as originally reported by the New York Times.
Navy Criminal Investigative Services spokesman Ed Buice confirmed to Military Times that they had taken over the investigation from Army Criminal Investigation Command on Sept. 24.
“Beyond that, NCIS does not discuss the details of ongoing investigations,” Buice wrote in an email response to Military Times. He added that there is not a timeline for how long the investigation would take, as “each one is unique.”
Though news of Melgar’s death came to light only recently, it comes on the heels of another tragedy experienced by his unit, 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Four soldiers from 3rd Group died in Niger earlier this month when they were ambushed by militants believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State terror group.
Melgar’s wife, Michelle, was notified shortly after his death and told that it was being considered a homicide, she told CNN.
“I ask for privacy during this time — I hope that you will allow me to tell my story when I’m ready. I knew him best — he was my best friend. It’s all so new — I’m sorry,” she told CNN.
The couple married in 2008. Melgar, a native of Lubbock, Texas, was stepfather to her two children and father of a son from a previous relationship.
Upon notification of his death, Melgar’s superiors immediately suspected foul play, and Army criminal investigators were on the scene within 24 hours, the Times reported.
In the process of the investigation, the two SEALs, who were not named in the article, were changed from being listed as “witnesses” to “persons of interest” by investigators.
The SEALs, Melgar and a fourth special operations service member were living in the house together at the time of the incident.
Interviewees told the Times various theories for the motive, from a wrestling incident that resulted in Melgar being choked and not able to be revived, to suspicions that Melgar may have discovered the SEALs were involved in illicit activities and the SEALs feared exposure.
A military medical examiner listed the cause of death as “a homicide by asphyxiation” or strangulation, the Times reported. An official with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System told Military Times that autopsies are not released without family approval, due to privacy concerns.
Melgar joined the Army in 2012 and served two tours in Afghanistan with 3rd Special Forces Group, one in 2014, and the other from August 2015 to February 2016. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars.
He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, officials said.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.