The wife of a U.S. Army captain who watched her husband slump forward dead while he was on Skype with her has raised questions about official report that her army medic husband Bruce Kevin Clark, died of "natural causes" while serving in Afghanistan.
According to a statement by Susan Orellana-Clark, released by her brother, Bradley Taber-Thomas, "Clark was suddenly knocked forward. The closet behind him had a bullet hole in it. The other individuals, including a member of the military, who rushed to the home of Capt Clark's wife also saw the hole and agreed it was a bullet hole."
According to MSNBC, Clark's wife said that the Skype line remained open for two hours after her husband fell away from the screen while family and friends made frantic efforts to call for help. The statement said: "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."
MSNBC reports U.S. officials in Afghanistan referred questions to Pentagon. Pentagon, according to MSNBC, says the cause of the army medic's death was being investigated.
According to Daily Mail, a spokesman at the William Beaumont Army Medical center in Texas said the army medic died of natural causes.
CNN reports that two military officials with knowledge of the investigation said it took two hours to get help to Clark partly because his wife's request was routed through several commands in the United States before it was relayed to Afghanistan.
Clark's wife said that he had shown no discomfort while they chatted. Daily Mail reports that Army Colonel John Modell, said: "Mrs Clark was Skypeing from the family home here in El Paso with her husband when he all of a sudden fell away from the computer keyboard and fell out of sight. He assumed an alarmed look and fell back out of the picture."
USA Today reports that Mrs Clark said: "As uncomfortable as this is for me, I am releasing this statement to honor my husband and dispel the inaccurate information and supposition promulgated by other parties."
Clarence Davis, a spokesman for the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, where Clark was based, said that it has not been determined how Clark died and that the case is under investigation. According to CNN, the army spokesman said he "misspoke" when he said earlier that "we believe his death was from natural causes."
Clark's sister-in-law Mariana, said the family was still in the dark about what happened: "There really still is a big question mark. On Tuesday, military called my sister and told her that Kevin had not made it, and that there would be an investigation and that was the only thing they would tell her." But she said the family was consoled by the fact that he died in service of his country. She said: "He didn't want anyone to suffer, and that's what made him an amazing nurse. It's what made him an amazing father, brother, husband, and son."
Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark, 43, was serving in Tarin Kowt, about 85 miles (140 kilometers) north of Kandahar. He grew up in Michigan and had lived in Spencerport, N.Y. He joined the Army in 2006, and was stationed in Hawaii before he was assigned to the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso and deployed in March. Clark is an army nurse who rose to the rank of Captain and Chief Nurse. He is survived by his wife and two daughters, aged three and nine.
His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Award, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Medal.
Update: The U.S Army has since issued a statement denying Captain Clark was shot. "The U.S. Army has said that the soldier who died in Afghanistan while chatting with his wife on Skype was not shot. The Army said that in spite of the claim by his wife that the captain was shot, he did not have a bullet wound..."
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