Born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Denisha Montgomery was a 27-year-old mother raising her three young sons in Hodgenville. She had always been interested in forensics and in January 2021, she enlisted in the army, following other family members. She was also determined to create a better life for her husband Joshua Smith and their three sons.
Denisha was deployed to Germany in 2022 for a 9-month rotation with the 139th Military Police Company at Fort Stewart. In May of the same year, she was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, and set to return home to the United States in September.
She was perfect, always a leader, always there for everybody… She just wanted us to be proud of her. And we were absolutely proud of her, everything she did.Joshua Smith, widower of Denisha Montgomery (wdrb.com)
Denisha’s time in the army quickly took a turn for the worse when on July 19, 2022, she video-called her family back home. Denisha requested her family record the call and for the next 12 minutes, she frantically retold her family what had happened to her that day. On her day off, she had gone to an off-base water park with four fellow soldiers in her unit. They had been drinking that day and on the car ride home, she was assaulted and strangled by them.
They choked me out, I kept telling them, I can’t breathe. I was like, I can’t breathe! I was gasping for air. I ain’t never been so scared in my life. I legit thought I was going to die in the car…I can’t be here no more. I don’t trust them. I don’t trust my leadership. I don’t want to be here with none of them no more.Denisha Montgomery to her family during a video call (armytimes.com)
During the video call (can be seen in the video above), Denise showed her family the bruising on her body from the attack and told them that the next day she was going to report the attack to Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID). Her family immediately contacted The Red Cross and reported the incident. The next day, Denise messaged her uncle to tell him that her conversation with the CID did not go well and that if she reported the assault she would also be charged with assault as well – for fighting back and hitting and biting the male and female who were assaulting her. She told her uncle that she ended up not reporting the incident as she didn’t want to get in trouble. To draw attention away from her situation she kept mostly to herself, stayed in her room, and went to work while waiting to return to Stewart where she may have had the opportunity to transfer to another squad.
Twenty-one days after the attack on August 21, 2022, Denisha Montgomery was found unresponsive at Lucius Clay Barracks and pronounced dead at the scene. The Army contacted Denisha’s family shortly after her death during preliminary findings and before autopsy results, to inform them that Denisha had most likely taken her own life and died of suicide.
They said, we’re sorry to inform you that your daughter has committed suicide by suffocation. And I said, How do you suffocate yourself. How can you possibly suffocate yourself?Heather Montgomery, mother of Denisha Montgomery (everythinglubbock.com)
Denisha’s entire family firmly believes she would never have killed herself. Despite the Army declaring Denisha’s death a suicide, they also say they are actively investigating her death and following all possible leads. However, to this date, the Army has not contacted the family once to ask about a possible assault. They have also granted a no-contact order for all the individuals in the car with Denisha, barring them from having any contact with her family. The CID did, however, give them a conflicting story about the events of the night she was assaulted. They claimed that on that night at the water park two individuals, who were not part of Denisha’s group, tried to sexually assault her in a restroom. The people in her group, whom Denishia said assaulted her, tried to help her by chasing the assailants away.
The family has now taken matters into their own hands and hired attorney Lindsey Knapp to help them look into the case.
If you have any sort of information regarding this case, please contact the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) agents at (254) 495-7767, and the Military Police Desk at (254) 287-4001.
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