Army sergeant’s mysterious death leaves family devastated and many questions unanswered

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“We had so many plans. Get a service dog, get married, get a house, vacations. We had so much planned to to do, now we can’t do it,” said Krystina Dressler.

Krystina Dressler fell in love with  Derek McConnell in High School. He joined the army and they got engaged. McConnell, stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan was proud to be a soldier. He tragically lost his legs in an IED explosion in July 2011.

Krystina stood by him.

“I listened for a heartbeat that wasn’t there, I called his squad leader because I didn’t know what else to do, I called 9-11,” said Dressler.

That was March 18, 2013, two years to the day McConnell had deployed.

armyThe love of her life was dead in his bed at their rehabilitation housing at Walter Reed Medical Center.

“It’s inconclusive, it could be this it could be that, there’s no pinpointed reason,” said Dressler.

“I’m not getting the answers that I need,” said his mother Siobhan Fueller-McConnell.

There are four other children, but there is a hole in Siobhan Fueller-McConnell’s heart and with that pain questions about how her son died. A few days before his death, McConnell had been treated for severe abdominal pain at the hospital on base but he had been released, she told us at her parsimony New Jersey home.

“I want to know why my 23-year-old son didn’t wake up one morning. It’s just not ok with me, that he’s here one day and gone the next and can’t tell me why,” said McConnell.

Family says the official cause was accidental. A spokesperson for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said this is an ongoing investigation and they do not comment on ongoing investigations.


  • joan

    When he was alive news casters ,soliticians,including Obama were running to Derek for photo ops… He is the American Hero symbol for this war. YET… after his death , limited help for this grieving mother… Thank you channel 11 for placing a light on this inexcusable actions of the US ARMY! This situation reminds me of another scenario…. the Tillman cover up…. I wonder if that is still an on going investigation ?

  • JuJu

    Death listed as "accidental?" Can you say screw-up and cover-up? Gee, sounds exactly like everything else going on these days. How does someone livng in a rehabilitation housing of Walter Reed accidentally die? The public and the media have to keep the pressure on until this family, and the rest of Ameican, know the TRUTH. And not the truth according to Obama, but the truth according to GOD.

  • tim hurd

    You need to get an autopsy away from walter reed and away from the military .They will tell you only what they want you to know.

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