The Two-Way
5:24 am
Mon May 7, 2012

What Killed Soldier In Afghanistan Who Died While Skyping With His Wife?

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 6:41 am

The mystery surrounding the death of Army Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark, who collapsed on April 30 while on a Skype call from Afghanistan to his wife back in the U.S., has deepened.

Clark's wife says that after her husband was "suddenly knocked forward" she observed via the Skype video connection what looked like a bullet hole in a closet behind him.

But The Associated Press reports that "Army investigators found no bullet wound and have no evidence of foul play ... officials said Monday. ... 'There was no bullet wound, no trauma,' except that Clark's nose was possibly broken when he fell on his desk, Christopher Grey, a spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command said."

The cause of death is still under investigation.

In a statement, the captain's wife, Susan Orellana-Clark, says that during the Skype call "there was no sign that CPT Clark was in any discomfort, nor did he indicate any alarm. Then CPT Clark was suddenly knocked forward." It was then, she writes, that she saw what she thinks was a bullet hole.

Orellana-Clark sought help, and the Skype connection remained open, according to her statement: "After two hours and many frantic phone calls by Mrs. Clark, two military personnel arrived in the room and appeared to check his pulse, but provided no details about his condition to his wife."

She adds that others who saw the Skype video agreed that there appeared to be a bullet hole in the closet behind her 43-year-old husband.

According to CNN, military officials have confirmed it took two hours for help to reach Clark. The response was delayed, they said, in large part because Orellana-Clark's messages were passed through several commands before reaching Clark's comrades in Tarin Kowt, north of Kandahar.

Clark, an Army nurse, "was passionate about serving our country," his sister-in-law, Mariana Barry, tells WHAM-TV in Rochester, N.Y. Clark had lived in nearby Spencerport, N.Y., his wife's hometown, in recent years and had been a volunteer firefighter there.

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET. The Army's Statement.

The complete statement form spokesperson Chris Grey at the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command:

"We express our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and fellow soldiers of Captain Bruce Clark who recently died in Afghanistan and we know this is a very traumatic and difficult time for all involved. Although the investigation into his death is open and ongoing by Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, we can positively say that Captain Clark was not shot.

"Agents conducting the investigation, found no trauma to the body beyond minor abrasions and a possible broken nose most likely caused from Captain Clark striking his face on his desk when he collapsed.

"The investigation into the death of Captain Clark will continue and we will consider all available evidence before reaching a final determination. Although we have not completely ruled it out to ensure a complete and thorough investigation is conducted, we do not suspect foul play in the death of Captain Clark at this point in our ongoing investigation. We will continue to keep the next of kin updated as the investigation continues."

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