But new reports indicate that at least two Marines may have been present during the alleged incident.
NBC News reported this week that five defense officials, who were not identified by name in the news report, confirmed that forensic evidence indicates that two Marines with Marine Special Operations Command may have been present at the night or early morning of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar’s death in June 2017.
The military is now investigating whether the Marines played a role in Melgar’s death or the possible cover up afterward, NBC News reported.
Multiple media reports have noted that the investigation — originally conducted by the Army’s Criminal Investigative Command but later transferred to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service — included statements from SEAL Team 6 members Petty Officer Antony DeDolph and Chief Petty Officer Adam Cranston Matthew that claimed they wanted to “get back” at Melgar, 34, for snubbing them on the way to a party.
The two claimed that they ambushed Melgar in his room in rough horseplay, with DeDolph choking him out.
But their stories allegedly changed multiple times as the investigation progressed.
The SEALs first told investigators that they were doing hand-to-hand combat training at around 4 a.m. on June 4, 2017, in their shared housing away from the embassy in Bamako, Mali.
The pair claimed that Melgar was drunk during the incident, but others later told investigators that Melgar was not drunk and didn’t drink.
The SEALs also claim they tried to revive Melgar after he was unresponsive, puncturing a hole in his throat to open an airway and transporting him to a local hospital with another Green Beret, who was not identified in the reporting.
A toxicology report showed that Melgar did not have alcohol in his system at the time of his death.
Melgar was assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group and nearing the end of his deployment to the African nation. Reports show that he had emailed his wife shortly before his death and told her he had a “bad feeling” about some of the troops he was working with.
Last year, his wife told CNN that she did not wish to speak to the media.
Sources within the special operations community told The Daily Beast last year that Melgar had allegedly discovered that the SEALS were skimming cash from their operational funds, used for payouts to informants who shared information about terrorists or arms traffickers in the area.
Those sources alleged that the SEALs offered to cut Melgar into the scheme, but he refused.
As recently as March, Navy officials told media outlets that DeDolph and Matthew were on an administrative hold in the Norfolk, Virginia, area.
Spokesmen from both NCIS and MARSOC declined to comment to NBC on the ongoing investigation.
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.