Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Santiago, a senior signal NCO assigned to 5th Special Forces Group, was charged with murder and injury of an unborn child this week, Fort Campbell officials said Wednesday.
His spouse, Meghan Santiago, died this week after Santiago reportedly injured her on Sept. 27, according to Brendalyn Player, the installation’s public affairs director.
“Meghan’s death is a tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends,” said Col. Brent Lindeman, commander of 5th Special Forces Group, in an Army press release. “This tragic event has shaken our entire unit. We take all allegations of domestic violence seriously, and we will provide every resource to ensure a thorough investigation.”
Santiago was arrested the day after the incident, the release said. The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division is handling the case.
A similar incident played out at another Army installation this week.
At a Friday morning press conference, local law enforcement authorities in Georgia announced that they had charged Staff Sgt. Alonzo Dargan Jr. with murder, murder of a fetus and a weapons crime in relation to the Tuesday shooting of Akeila Ware, who was pregnant with his child.
Dargan is assigned to the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to an Army official. A now-private Facebook page said he is a signal NCO.
Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff said that military authorities arrested Dargan on Thursday afternoon. The news conference was live streamed by the LaGrange Daily News.
Dargan, who is from Troup County, is married to another woman with whom he has children, authorities said.
Ware, the victim and a mother of five, was driving along a road near LaGrange, Georgia, when someone pulled alongside her vehicle and riddled it with bullets before running her off the road, said Capt. Kelly Ellington, the lead investigator on the case.
According to Ellington, investigators found evidence potentially linking Dargan’s vehicle to the scene of the crime, in addition to evidence showing that he was in Troup County at the time of the killing.
A Facebook page for Dargan went private before Army Times could send a request for comment. Public affairs officials from the Army’s Security Force Assistance Command did not immediately respond to an emailed query.
“I went to the scene and could not believe that somebody had shot and killed a young mother of five children,” Woodruff, the sheriff, said. “On top of that, [he] killed her and she had a baby inside of her. That resulted in the death of that baby.”
October is the Defense Department’s “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” according to a Thursday media release.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.