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Army rules soldier from Mass. killed self

Found dead with bullet in head

The US Army has ruled Ciara Durkin's death a suicide. The US Army has ruled Ciara Durkin's death a suicide.
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Jillian Jorgensen
Globe Correspondent / June 25, 2008

The US Army has ruled the controversial shooting death of a Massachusetts soldier in Afghanistan was a suicide, according to the soldier's family's website.

Ciara Durkin, a 30-year-old Army specialist who worked in finance, was found dead with a single bullet in her head on Sept. 28, 2007, at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, near her M-16 rifle. At the time, the Army declared that her death was not combat-related, but provided no more public information.

"The Durkin family has received the Army's final report into Ciara's death, with their conclusion that she took her own life," her family said in a statement on their website. "We are very upset and saddened by their conclusion. We have borne an extraordinary amount of pain over the past nine months, compounded by a protracted and at times ambiguous investigation. We now need time and privacy to grieve and let our Ciara finally rest in peace."

Durkin's friends and family had described her as a passionate young woman who would never have killed herself. Her death was made more mysterious by an e-mail she had sent friends in June 2007, saying a fellow soldier had pulled a 9mm gun on her.

A call to Durkin's family's home in Quincy was not returned last night, and attempts to reach the Massachusetts Army National Guard for comment last night were also unsuccessful.

Durkin was born in Ireland and came to the United States when she was 9 years old, with her family settling in Dorchester. Her father died soon after they moved, and she was raised by her mother.

In October 2005, she enlisted in the US Army National Guard and was assigned to the 726th Finance Battalion in West Newton. After training, she was deployed with the 13-member Task Force Diamond and, in February 2007, went to Afghanistan. She had been home on leave for the first two weeks of September, according to the family website, and returned to Afghanistan on Sept. 15, 2007.

Sally Jacobs of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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