Fort Bragg investigating infant deaths

August 31, 2010 3:54:43 PM PDT
Fort Bragg families whose babies have died while living on post say they want to know if there is a common link.Army officials confirmed at a press briefing Tuesday that they are currently investigating whether their houses had anything to do with the 10 deaths, which have been classified as SIDS deaths.

The Army says right now, they have more questions than answers.

"We have found what we think is an issue and we're looking into it," said Brig. Gen. Michael X. Garrett.

The Army declined to say exactly what base neighborhoods the deaths occured, but did say two occured in the same home - which they called especially troubling.

They said so far, they have not found any positive proof of environmental factors.

Three families, who all lost babies, tell ABC11 Eyewitness News there is too much in common for there not to be a connection.

Spc. Nathanael Duke and his wife Krystyna say their son Gabriel Duke was just a month-and-a-half old when Krystyna found him dead inside his crib in March.

"I knew he was gone," Krystyna Duke said.

"She just kept saying over and over again, my baby," Spc. Nathanael Duke said.

Jayvair Pollard was 2-and-a-half months old when his mother realized he'd stopped breathing last year.

"I would wake up in the middle of the night and hear my son cry and he's been gone for 16 months," Melissa Pollard said.

Her brother and his fianc? lost their little girl, Ka-Mya, while they were staying in Pollard's home just three months later.

"Why did she die," mother Bianca Outlaw said. "What happened to us? I just have so many questions."

All three families say they've gotten few answers. They say each baby died in a home on Fort Bragg after their parents say they suffered coughs and congestion.

An e-mail one of the families shared with ABC11, appears to reveal the Army was looking into a possible link back in November.

It states the deaths were in the time frame that there was a potential of contaminated sheetrock from China being used in new family housing.

When the Duke's lost their son this year, they say Army investigators removed drywall and carpet samples from their home and told them something they'll never forget.

"They told us the sample over Gabriel's bed tested positive for Chinese drywall," Krystyna Duke said.

"Get out of the house, seek medical attention, do not wait," Spc. Nathanael Duke said.

They say the Army has since come back with a second round of test results that are negative for Chinese drywall.

The Army also tells ABC11 that all of tests were either negative or within allowable limits.

While the families say they don't know what to believe, one of their attorneys feel the deaths are related.

"It's far too coincidental that these deaths, so many deaths have occurred," Jamie Hernan said.

"I want to know what's going on, I want to know why," Melissa Pollard said.

"I just want the truth," Spc. Nathanael Duke said.

The families tell ABC11 the Army is now changing the cause of their babies' deaths from sudden unexpected death to undetermined.

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