Army re-opening baby death investigation

Fort Bragg (Wikimedia)

September 23, 2010 9:08:09 PM PDT
The Army announced Thursday it's re-opening the investigation of the death of one of the babies at Fort Bragg. The news came as military leaders held a third town hall meeting to talk about the 10 babies who died in family housing on post.

Commanders have reassured families in on-post housing they aren't at risk. Five of 10 homes tested so far showed no signs of toxic or environmental danger.

"I want them to be comfortable in the house they are living; I want to do everything I can to allay any fears that they may have," Fort Bragg Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Garrett said.

While Bragg leaders and the contractor are confident drywall is not an issue, no one is able to say why testing parameters were different after one test on drywall samples from one home came back positive for Chinese drywall and a subsequent test didn't.

"Someone changed the parameters of the test, and we are trying to find out why the parameters were changed and by whom," Garrison Commander Colonel Stephen J. Sicinski said.

"The testing that has been done we feel comfortable with the results we have been given," Gen. Garrett said.

The drywall's distributor tells ABC11 Eyewitness News that they only sell domestic drywall, but there is some concern about the first test.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command says it will investigate why the testing was changed and they're also having the Consumer Product Safety Commission look at every possibility.

"It does the full gambit from water, soil, structural and it's a very extensive test," said Chris Grey with the Army CID. "They do it independently from what Fort Bragg is pursuing."

Army Spec. Robert Neuterman and his wife say they're still waiting for answers in their infant daughter's death.

"It's kind of like a waiting game for us and the other families it's a waiting game," Spec. Robert Neuterman said. "As far as CID goes, I have complete faith in them."

CID investigators say they will try to release as much initial information from the testing as soon as it becomes available, but they stress results from the long term testing set to begin in October, may not be available until next February.

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