On July 19, 2005, just eight days shy of her 20th birthday, LaVena Johnson was found dead in her tent at a military base in Balad, Iraq. Military officials ruled her death a suicide, saying she shot herself in the head.
The tent she was found in belonged to military contractor, Halliburton/KBR.
LaVena’s parents, Dr. John and Linda Johnson, were not satisfied with that ruling. They had spoken with their daughter just days before her death and she seemed in good spirits. She was also planning on going home for the holidays that year.