An Air Force Reserve captain from Tampa, Florida, whose family believe that she was sexually assaulted while serving in Afghanistan, has shot herself dead.
Tampa police found Jamie Brunette dead on February 9 in the back of her locked car near her apartment.
It seems that the 30-year-old woman shot herself with her own & Wesson .380 handgun, which she bought about six months earlier, according to police, The Tampa Tribune reports. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Air Force Reserve Capt. Jamie Brunette was found dead on February 9 by Tampa police in the back of her locked Chrysler 200 sedan near her apartment.
The news of the suicide shocked Brunette’s family who had noticed no signs suicidal behavior. She left active duty last June, after 11 years in service, joined the Air Force Reserve and was about to open her new fitness business. Jackie Leverich, 40, Brunette’s oldest sister, said:
She had so much going for her. She was so full of hope and wonderment and passion and excitement for life.
Brunette had appeared outwardly happy and only a week before her death she had shared pictures of her fitness studio being built with the caption “Doing work today!”.
The business was due to open in a few weeks’ time and Brunette was part owner and part instructor.
2. The news shocked her family as Brunette, who left active duty after 11 years last June and joined the Air Force Reserve, had not shown any signs of being suicidal.
However, Leverich believes that something traumatic happened to her sister during her time in Afghanistan. She says that the family noticed a change on Brunette’s return at her sister’s wedding. Leverich said:
She seemed upbeat, but she wasn’t really giving us a whole lot of detail about life and what was going on.
Leverich suspects that her sister was sexually assaulted in Afghanistan, though she has no proof. She says:
I suspect she was assaulted, and she didn’t feel comfortable reporting it for some reason and internalized the incident so she could finish her deployment, which she did with flying colors.
It’s not anything she told me, just from talking with all her friends this past week, and piecing those things together.
I am female active duty, 18 years in the Coast Guard. I am well aware of those issues, and that’s my gut feeling.
Brunette left active duty on the following year and joined the Air Force Reserve.
3. Brunette was in the middle of opening her new fitness business next month — pictured here on a bike outside the studio.
Brunette business partner Air Force Lt. Col Kurt Spranger told the Tampa Tribune:
I do not know the detail, but unequivocally I can say, yes, something happened, something that should never happen to a human.
Something happened and it was why she wanted to get out. So she wouldn’t have to deploy again.
Spranger added that Brunettte had split with her boyfriend two weeks prior to her death, without giving any signs of being unhappy and was professional at all times.
The initial report from the Hillsborough County medical examiner’s states that Brunette had a “long tobacco and alcohol abuse history” and was suffering from depression and anxiety.
Brunette’s roommate said she had told her that she was seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder from the VA and had been depressed. Citing privacy issues, the VA did not comment.
4. In June 2014, Brunette left active duty and opted for the Air Force Reserve.
A memorial page was created online and was quickly flooded with comments. One user wrote:
She was a wonderful, bright, positive, professional, Contingency Contracting Officer and Airmen. She was so young and so full of life and I feel great sadness from the squadron that loved her very much.
Another user wrote:
I recently met Jamie at Orange Theory in Largo. I was so impressed while talking to her — articulate, respectful, courteous and interesting. She was full of life and excited about getting her business up and running.
A GoFundMe page has raised more than $20,000 for funeral expenses.
5. President Obama signs the Veterans Suicide Prevention Act.
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