Two Navy SEALs under investigation in the death of an Army Green Beret in Africa changed their story to investigators from when the death was first reported to after the autopsy revealed that the soldier had died of “homicide by asphyxiation.”
One of the two SEALs, identified by reporting in the Intercept, an investigative news website, over the weekend, was a former professional mixed martial arts fighter. That SEAL, Petty Officer Anthony DeDolph and the other SEAL, who is still publicly unidentified, first told investigators that they found Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar at 5 a.m. on June 4 unresponsive in his room in embassy housing in Bamako, Mali.
It wasn’t until after an autopsy revealed the cause of death that DeDolph and the other SEAL told investigators that the three roommates had been grappling, according to the Intercept report.
Officials with SOCOM, AFRICOM and NCIS have declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, which was originally reported by the New York Times.
DeDolph and his teammate said that Melgar passed out while they were wrestling, and they tried to resuscitate him before taking him to get medical attention, according to two unnamed military officials in the Intercept article.
There have not been any charges filed in the case, which was initially investigated by Army Criminal Investigation Command and then turned over to NCIS on Sept. 24.
DeDolph and the other SEAL were removed from their duties in Mali and placed on administrative leave during the investigation, according to the article. The SEALs were initially considered witnesses in the case but have since been termed “persons of interest” by investigators.
Melgar’s wife, Michelle, was notified of his death shortly after the incident and told reporters with CNN that she had been told that it was being investigated as a homicide. She declined further comment to media.
Melgar, 34, was a native of Lubbock, Texas, he joined the Army in 2012 and served two tours in Afghanistan with 3rd Special Forces Group, which he was serving with at the time of his death.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.