“He felt that something was going to happen,” says a cousin of Corlton L. Chee, adding that his body had bruises, scratches, and a bump.
The family of Fort Hood soldier Corlton L. Chee claims his death was the result of foul play, contradicting statements made by officials. Chee collapsed on August 28 during an exercise routine and was pronounced dead two days later. He was the 11th service member stationed at Fort Hood in Texas to die under questionable circumstances this year.
In an interview with the Gallup Independent, a publication in New Mexico, the family of Chee and his fiancé, Jeanette Coho, have stated their belief that something else may have killed the 25-year-old.
“He felt that something was going to happen,” Carma Johnson, Chee’s cousin, and his family’s spokesperson told the local publication on Monday. Johnson said that Chee was hesitant about going to training that day. Johnson alleges that Chee suspected something would happen to him.
The family alleges that Chee’s body had bruises, scratches, and a bump on the back of his head, but the statement from Fort Hood officials says that, according to witnesses “Chee showed no signs of struggling and was running at the front of the group when he collapsed near the end of the run.”
The Chain of Command and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) has initiated an investigation, as is required every time a soldier dies unexpectedly. They claim they don’t suspect foul play was involved in his cause of death.
“Army CID is working closely with the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences to further understand the cause of his death,” Fort Hood officials said in a statement. “It is too early in the process to draw any conclusions about why he collapsed or passed away.”
According to Fort Hood officials, Chee was running during an early morning workout. He and other service members ran as a group to a specified location and were then released to run back to the starting point as fast as they could. The total distance of the run was approximately 2.2 miles. Witnesses stated that Chee showed no signs that he was struggling and was running at the front of the group when he collapsed near the end of the run.
Chee left behind his fiancé, a 2-year-old son, and a 3-week old son.
On Sept. 16, Chee was laid to rest at the New Mexico State Veterans Cemetery. Earlier this month, the Navajo Nation called for an investigation into the death of Chee. Chee was from Pine Hill, New Mexico, and a member of the Navajo Nation.
“By all accounts, PFC Chee was a strong warrior and a good family man who wanted the best for his family and his Navajo people,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement. “We will always be thankful for his service to the Navajo Nation and the United States.”