Amy Tirador was a 29-year-old, 10-year military veteran when she arrived at Camp Caldwell on August 14, 2009. Camp was located in western Iraq, near the Iranian border and Amy was one of only a handful of women stationed there. Originally trained as a medic during her previous deployments, she began training for a position in human intelligence.
Amy and her husband Mickey Tirador had been married for three years at the time and had even bought a house near the base in Washington. They hoped to start a family when their tour ended.
Known as a hard worker with a positive attitude, Amy was sent to Arizona in the spring of 2009 for interrogation training. Her time there was not as successful as she had hoped, and she failed to meet the standards needed for the position. Frustrated, Amy ended up returning to camp.
She received some good news shortly after. Despite being married, she and her husband Mickey’s military obligations had caused them to live apart. But on October 9, Mickey arrived at camp to begin work there, they both began sharing a containerize housing unit (CHU).
Several colleagues and various people who worked with Amy at the time stated that stress and job difficulties soon began mounting for her after Mickey arrived.
On November 3, Amy went to work, and near the end of her shift, she received an email from her supervisor who stated her job performance was unsatisfactory. He ordered her to expedite several reports that were late. She left work at 5:30 p.m. and returned to her CHU. Mickey was the last person to see Amy that night at 8 p.m. She was leaving their CHU to walk to work.
At 5 a.m. the next morning, Mickey did not see Amy when he woke up. Assuming she had left for work – he went to the gym. After the gym, he ran some errands and went to look for her. Around lunchtime, a major met with him to tell him that something had happened to Amy.
Amy Tirador was found dead at 1:29 p.m. on November 4, by a private contractor during a maintenance check. He noticed a door ajar, with a boot protruding from a room. The room was just large enough to fit a generator, and when he entered he found a uniformed and bloodied female slumped against the generator. There was a 9mm handgun by her right hand, a single gunshot wound behind her right ear and two visible pools of blood in the room.
The Army initially labeled her death “undetermined”, but investigators have since concluded Amy died by suicide as they found Amy’s fingerprints on the handgun. DNA of another person was also found on the gun, but the person was never identified. Mickey was tested, but did not match the DNA. The police believed the additional DNA found on the gun, may have come from someone responding to the crime.
To this day, the Army maintains that Amy was at “high risk” for suicide because she was experiencing mounting pressures at work and her marriage was less than ideal. Police had searched Mickey’s computer and found evidence of him on dating websites, Amy’s mother Colleen Murphy also said Amy was planning on divorcing him.
The family has said they believe her death was an execution-style murder and took place in the generator room as the generator would muffle the shot of a gunshot.
A female soldier and good friend had also called Amy very “positive and religious.” Amy went to church almost every Sunday on the base, never used drugs or alcohol, and she saw no evidence of a planned suicide.
Mickey Tirador also maintained that his wife would never have killed herself. He hired a forensic pathologist to exhume Amy’s body for further investigation but no findings were ever released.
Like the Tiradors, several families have lost daughters in the Military to mysterious deaths and “suicides”. In many cases, they are left with unanswered questions, unrealistic conclusions and a lifelong fight for the truth from the Military.
If you have any sort of information regarding this case, please contact the Army’s Criminal Investigations Division.