Investigation into Hanau GI's 2001 homicide goes on
Stars and Stripes April 10, 2003
For the past 521 days, Santos Gonzales has prayed for the Army to bring his daughter’s killer to justice. As each day passes, he grows more doubtful his prayers will be answered.
On Nov. 5, 2001, Pfc. Amanda Gonzales, 19, was found dead in her third-floor barracks room on Fliegerhorst Casern in Hanau, Germany. The Army ruled her death a homicide by asphyxiation, according to Army Criminal Investigation Command officials.
A cook assigned to the 127th Aviation Support Battalion, Gonzales hailed from Hearne, Texas. She was four months pregnant when she died.
Santos Gonzales suspects the unborn baby’s father, a soldier assigned to his daughter unit, took Amanda by surprise and murdered her, he said. He bases his judgment on information from Amanda’s friends, not investigators.
“If he’s done it once, he’ll do it again,” Gonzales said. “I’m afraid for others.”
While it’s been 17 months since her death, Army investigators have neither closed the case nor given up hope of apprehending Gonzales’s killer.
“We have conducted an aggressive investigation since discovering the body of Amanda Gonzales, and we will continue to do so and won’t rest until we find who’s responsible for this terrible crime,” said Special Agent Philip Tackett, the Army’s senior criminal investigator in Europe.
“We encourage anyone who has any information to come forward. What may seem like a piece of insignificant information, may be just the clue we are looking for to bring the responsible party to justice.”
The Criminal Investigation Command, known commonly as CID, recently renewed a $20,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the person or people responsible for her death, according to a release from the command headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Va. Shortly after her death, the command offered a reward.
“This is a continuation of the initial reward,” said Christopher Grey, a CID spokesman. “It’s an attempt to generate new leads.”
In August, CID transferred the case from Hanau to an agent working from Wiesbaden.
“It’s doesn’t hurt to have a fresh set of eyes on things, maybe to turn over a leaf that may have been forgotten,” Gonzales said. “But it’s been quite a while and still no resolution. That makes me doubtful.”
Lt. Col. Eric Smith, commander of Amanda’s battalion, calls Gonzales weekly but has little to report, Gonzales said. Investigators say things to ease his mind, but don’t give him confidence that they are closer to making an arrest, Gonzales said.
“They found a hamburger wrapper with a fingerprint,” Gonzales said. “Basically, not too much other than that.”
Investigators told him they were still awaiting DNA analysis of skin cells, a fact Gonzales finds hard to believe after 17 months of investigation, he said.
“I don’t know really how the investigation is going,” Gonzales said. “They tell me what I want to hear over the phone, but they are a world away.”
Anyone with any information regarding the death of Amanda Gonzales can contact the closest Criminal Investigation Command office or telephone the Wiesbaden CID office at civilian (+49) (0)6118-16-2481, (0)6118-16-2485 or (0)6118-16-2487; or at DSN 336-2481, 336-2485 or 336-2487.
CID officials said information given by anyone wishing to remain anonymous will be held in the strictest confidence allowable under the law. A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the person or people responsible for her death.