May 11, 2008 – Another veteran of the Iraq war committed suicide over the weekend.
The subject of U.S. military veterans suicides has finally become a hot media topic in recent days, peaking last week with hearings in Congress concerning the surprisingly high suicide rate (about 1000 attempts per month) and the Veterans Affairs apparent efforts to obscure the true numbers.
For nearly five years, E&P has monitored the little-reported cases of suicides among U.S. military personnel in Iraq, and after they return home. Often, local newspapers are the only sources for information. It happened again today with a report in The Herald Bulletin of Madison County, Indiana. “Questions still remained Saturday after the suicide of a decorated Iraq war veteran in the Elwood City Jail on Friday,” the newspaper’s Jessica Kerman reporter.
U.S. Army Spc. Timothy K. Israel, 23, was pronounced dead at 2:45 p.m. Friday at St. Vincent Mercy Hospital in Elwood after an Elwood police officer found him hanging in a holding cell 15 minutes earlier, according to Ned Dunnichay, Madison County coroner. Israel had used the drawstring from his pants to commit suicide.
“He had been arrested Friday morning on suspicion of domestic battery after an argument with a former girlfriend,” Kerman related. “However, friends of Israel said he was wrongfully accused.”
Keith Israel, the veteran’s father, said Thursday that he was considering a civil lawsuit against the Elwood Police Department because he believed no one was monitoring surveillance cameras in the cell. At that time, Keith Israel said he believed his son’s suicide was the culmination of ongoing police harassment and untreated post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Timothy Israel was deployed to Iraq in October 2006, serving for a year. His father said he earned a Purple Heart after being wounded by a roadside explosive in 2007.”