Did Two Army Buddies Both Commit Suicide?

Billy Ray Hargrove, 30, an Army sergeant, was found dead behind his home near a military post in South Korea in February 1992. The Army ruled that Hargrove, despondent over an impending divorce, had hanged himself from a tree with a parachute cord shortly after being summoned to his base office. His wife found him.

Hargrove's best friend, fellow Desert Storm veteran Sgt. Nurma "Mike" Carmichael, accompanied the body back home for burial in Arkansas. There he told his uncle, Oscar Carmichael, that he did not believe Hargrove had committed suicide. He vowed to investigate the death when he returned to South Korea.

Two weeks later, on April 5, 1992, Carmichael was found dead in South Korea. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service said he had been strangled by a parachute cord strung from the door handle of a metal locker inside his quarters at an Army barracks. It was his 38th birthday.

Like Hargrove, Carmichael died after he was summoned back to work on an off-duty day. Like Hargrove, he was found by his wife. Like Hargrove, his death was ruled a suicide by the Army. And like Hargrove's wife, Carmichael's wife told investigators she had found metal wire - not parachute cord - around her husband's neck.

Oscar Carmichael believes the two friends' deaths are connected. Hargrove's father, Harvey Hargrove, suspects that the two soldiers were murdered.

Both men concede they have no proof of murder, only unanswered questions and contradictory, piecemeal evidence supplied by the Army.

"I think those two boys found out something they weren't supposed to find out," Hargrove said. "No way those two boys committed suicide."