The family of a US Army Non-Commissioned Officer -who died during a land navigation exercise- has reportedly been denied the right to view his remains.
US Army Staff Sergeant Jaime Contreras, who disappeared earlier this month during an exercise at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, had only been declared missing for about 10 hours prior to the discovery of his body.
The 40-year-old NCO had been located in what was described as “unforgiving terrain.”
The SSG’s mother, Thelma Gomez, claims the family was denied the ability to view the body after the autopsy, and that the Army instructed the family to bury the father of five in a “closed casket” manner.
According to the WISTV, the body will be wrapped in opaque bandage cloth, and a uniform will be placed over the body, should the family choose an open casket affair.
“Why is the body unviewable?” Gomez asked. “So that I don’t, in turn, go into the dark and make speculations and assumptions that I don’t want to make, I’d like to know why.”
At the time of his death, Contreras was training to be a drill sergeant and was well into the program.
He was based out of Fort Liberty, North Carolina, and worked in food services.
“He devoted his life to the military,” Gomez said of her son. “My son was in the process of devoting, and I guess you could say he did devote his life to the military.”
Prior to his death, Contreras was recently engaged to Erin Kern and had just purchased a house.
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