Fort Bliss Female Soldier Who Died on New Year’s Eve Reported Being Sexually Assaulted


AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca, File

By Araceli Cruz

January 7, 2021

The same month that Asia Graham arrived at Fort Bliss in Texas she was sexually assaulted, according to a report she filed.

The family of soldier Asia Graham, who was found dead on New Year’s Eve at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, is opening up about the 19-year-old and revealing that in the months leading up to her death she had reported being sexually assaulted. As of Jan. 6, army officials do not suspect foul play in Graham’s death but said they are also waiting for the autopsy report. 

Nicole Graham said her daughter had been sexually assaulted in December of 2019, the same month she first arrived at Fort Bliss, and just months after joining the army in North Carolina. 

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However, she did not file a report until months later. Lt. Col. Allie M. Payne, US Army Public Affairs officer, confirmed the report to WBTV. In a statement, Payne said that Asia filed a report on June 1, 2020. 

“At the time, Pfc. Graham alleged a fellow Pfc. stationed at Fort Bliss sexually assaulted her in December of 2019. As with all allegations of sexual assault, Army Criminal Investigative Command investigated the matter,” Payne said. “Charges were preferred against the alleged offender on Oct. 22, 2020, which includes one specification of sexual assault pertaining to Pfc. Graham. Those charges are pending adjudication.”

On Dec. 31, Asia, from Cherryville, North Carolina, was found unresponsive in her barracks room and was later pronounced deceased by Fort Bliss Department of Emergency Services personnel. 

Asia’s mother, a widow of a veteran, said the military failed her daughter.

“I was with the military life. I spoke very highly about the military, but in her situation, I think the leadership failed her,” Nicole told WBTV. “Do I think she was murdered? No. But do I think if it would have handled better from the beginning, I think she would have had the proper help before and she would have been OK.”

Asia’s brother Andrew Koenigsfeld shared his thoughts about his sister, telling WCNC, “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?'” 

He added, “She was ready to fight. Then that got taken away.”

On Jan. 2, Col. Geoffrey Whittenberg, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade commander, released the following statement: “The Iron Eagle team is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and teammate. We send our deepest condolences and prayers to her friends and loved ones. Graham was a valued member of the Iron Eagle team and did an outstanding job for this Battalion. 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.”

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The 19-year-old arrived at Fort Bliss station just a year ago in Dec. 2019 as a human resource specialist. She first joined the army in July 2019. During her short period in the military, Graham was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. 

This is a developing story.




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