On Feb. 9, Air Force Reserve Capt. Jamie Brunette was found dead in her car by the Tampa Police Department. Her untimely death at the age of 30 came as quite a shock for her family because she reportedly showed no signs of a person with suicidal tendencies.
Now, her family is left wondering what pushed her to take her own life. Although they don’t have definitive answers at this point, they have speculated that she may have been sexually assaulted while in Afghanistan.
During a recent interview with the Tampa Tribune, Brunette’s oldest sister Jackie Leverich revealed the family believes she may have been sexually assaulted. She also noted there was a distinct difference in her sister when she returned from Afghanistan. When Brunette arrived home for her sister’s wedding, the family insists something was a bit different about her.
“She seemed upbeat,” said Leverich, ‘but she wasn’t really giving us a whole lot of detail about life and what was going on.”
“I suspect she was assaulted and she didn’t feel comfortable reporting it for some reason and internalized the incident so she could finish her deployment, which she did with flying colors,”she said. “It’s not anything she told me, just from talking with all her friends this past week and piecing those things together. I am female active duty, 18 years in the Coast Guard. I am well aware of those issues, and that’s my gut feeling.”
Brunette’s business partner, Air Force Lt. Col Kurt Spranger, also weighed in with the Tampa Tribune. He revealed something actually did happen. However, he could not elaborate or offer specific details about why she wanted out of the Air Force. Brunette reportedly broke up with her boyfriend two weeks prior to her death, but Col. Spranger stated that she was never outwardly emotional about the split. She was also professional at all times, so it was relatively difficult to cite what could have led her to commit suicide.
“I do not know the detail, but unequivocally I can say, yes, something happened, something that should never happen to a human,” Spranger said. “Something happened and it was why she wanted to get out. So she wouldn’t have to deploy again.”
The reason for Jamie Brunette’s suicide are unknown. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has declined to comment on her death citing privacy issues.
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