MIAMI – When a group of children tending cattle near the Mali-Niger border in Africa found the remains of Miami Gardens' Sgt. La David Johnson last month, the 25-year-old father had a gaping wound at the back of his head, The Washington Post reported Friday evening.
Adamou Boubacar, a 23-year-old resident of the Niger village of Tongo Tongo, told The Washington Post he saw Johnson's body lying face down, his wrists bound with rope and it looked like the back of his head had been smashed by something, possibly a bullet.
The U.S. Africa Command is conducting an investigation into how Johnson got separated from the U.S. Special Forces group before the evacuation by the French. The U.S. military is working with Nigerien forces against Islamic militants.
The U.S. Army Special Forces 11-member team was traveling with 30 Nigerien soldiers when more than 50 Islamic militants ambushed them Oct. 4, according to the Pentagon.
After the French Puma helicopters evacuated the survivors and the bodies of Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, it took two days for the children to find Sgt. La David Johnson's body.
Before Johnson's remains returned to Miami International Airport, his pregnant widow, Myeshia Johnson, was informed that the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base had prepared his remains for a closed-casket funeral.
"Why couldn't I see my husband? Every time I asked to see my husband, they wouldn't let me," Johnson's widow said during an interview with "Good Morning America." "They won't show me a finger, a hand. I know my husband's body from head to toe. They won't show me anything.
"I don't know what's in that box. It could be empty for all I know."