Tonawanda News

February 12, 2014

WNY soldier's death ruled accidental

By Michael Regan michael.regan@tonawanda-news.com
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — U.S. Army investigators said on Tuesday that the death of a Western New York soldier over the weekend at a Texas military base where he was stationed appears to have been accidental.

Spc. Ian Patrick Morgan, 28, who was found at the bottom of a stairwell near his Ft. Sam Houston barracks at 2 a.m. Sunday, was taken to the San Antonio Military Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

But with early indication showing blunt force trauma to Morgan’s head and other injuries raised suspicions that the incident may have been a homicide.

Special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command now believe, however, that Morgan’s death was the result of “an accident fall” after he returned from a party he attended on Saturday.

“The initial findings were that it was an accident, it wasn’t a homicide,” said Col. Scott Bleichwehl, director of public affairs for U.S. Army North, in an interview with the Tonawanda News on Tuesday. “Those are the initial findings but the investigation continues.”

Those findings include “all available evidence to date,” including the results of an autopsy, said Chris Grey, a spokesperson for the Army’s investigative department, in a statement released Tuesday.

“At this point in the investigation we do not suspect foul play and see no signs of foul play, although we have not completely ruled it out in order to conduct a complete and thorough investigation,” Grey said.

Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District Superintendent Mark P. Mondonaro, in a statement released Monday, said teachers remember Morgan, a 2004 graduate, as “polite and respectful” also describing him as “well-liked.”

“Our sympathies are extended to the family and friends of Specialist Morgan,” Mondonaro said. “And we thank him for representing our country.”

He entered the military after his high school graduation.

Military officials said a final determination on Morgan’s death will not be made “until a rigorous and detailed investigation is conducted and all physical and testimonial evidence is examined and all possible leads are exhausted,” according to a statement.