Journalism in the Public Interest

Fort Bragg Infant Death Toll May Climb to Twelve

Another baby has died in military housing at Fort Bragg. Now investigators are examining the house for tainted drywall and other possible contaminants.

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March 11, 2011, 11:02 p.m.

@MN Mama if you don’t like what you are reading and you say it makes you sick there is a simple solution…quit reading it! Your comments aren’t helpful to finding answers so if you stopped commenting and reading these I wouldn’t be upset.

Yes the military is voluntary and when you enlist you know you are risking your life for your country however you are not willingly risking your childrens lives. No one would join if they thought there was a possibility that their child would died from military housing.

Ft Bragg is getting a lot of attention because 12 children to die in 4 years is a high statistic. It still is not getting the amount of attention it needs to stop this. If a town had this many deaths in that time frame it would get attention too. I understand Ft Bragg is large however the single solider population should not be taken into consideration.

As far as you saying if this were somewhere else these deaths would be ruled SIDS you are wrong. There are criteria a childs death must meet to be ruled SIDS. If the child had so much as a couch, cold, runny nose ect before they died the death can not be ruled SIDS. No ME would rule a death SIDS just bases on location. That was an absurd statement.

Again I will suggest to you to stop reading these comments and stop leaving your comments here if you don’t like what you read.


March 11, 2011, 11:06 p.m.

Well MN Mama,
WE ARE THE FAMILY! You want to talk about disrespectful? You’re obviously a mother, as your username implies. You just stated, “if you are an intelligent adult with children, you would inspect the property before moving in.” You made that statement about my sister who is grieving over the loss of her baby. She also at the time had 3 children and was pregnant with her fourth. If you know anything about military housing, you would know that when you are offered a house on post, you only have a certain amount of days to accept the house before having to find off post housing. Don’t question my military knowledge, as I am a military wife myself. Also, when you have 4 children, you know that you won’t be able to find any decent housing anywhere near the base with the allotted monthly BAH. BAH is the same if you have 1 child or 10. This is why on post housing is normally a great option for large families. On post housing at every base is expected to be safe and livable. As you can read from this article and even parents who have commented on their personal nightmares at Ft Bragg, that housing at Ft Bragg is UNSAFE!

You want to talk about voluntary? How about our soldiers who voluntarily joined the Army to fight for our freedom, including ignorant morons like yourself. How dare you talk about our soldiers, including my husband, father, and brother in law. Soldiers do not sign up for the military because of pay, trust me. Most sign up because they want to fight for our country and for you to have your freedom. They may put their life on the line on a daily basis, but their family does not. When innocent babies start dying on a military installation and almost all of the babies have been ruled “mysterious deaths,” I fully expect that the installation would be doing everything in their power to find out what is killing these babies. It may be mold, drywall, vaccines, or many other possibilities, but Ft Bragg is not doing a damn thing to uncover what it is. I have a personal connection to this story, and I will continue to respond to idiotic comments, like yourself has just posted. You have no affiliation to this story, and apparently to the military, so go back to your sheltered corner in Minnesota and make yourself useful somewhere else because your ignorant statements aren’t needed here!

And next time you comment on a newspaper article about a 4 1/2 month old baby that has just died, it wouldn’t be very intelligent to use the words, “sick and tired” and “disrespectful” when commenting against the family. No matter what you may think, innocent babies are dying on Ft.Bragg and being a mother yourself, you should show a little more compassion and sensitivity!

MN Mama

March 11, 2011, 11:10 p.m.

Perhaps you should educate yourself on SIDS being a possible cause of death.

SIDS is responsible for roughly 50 deaths per 100,000 births in the US.
Birth Data for United States in 2009
    Number of births: 4,131,019
    Birth rate: 13.5 per 1,000 population

If any of you can do the math, I’d love to know what you come with for how many children die a year from SIDS. I’ve done the math myself. The statistics are staggering. Even more interesting, the children that have died at Ft. Bragg fit at least 2 of the criteria listed below.

Risk factors of SIDS
By Mayo Clinic staff

Although sudden infant death syndrome can strike any infant, researchers have identified several factors that may increase a baby’s risk. At higher risk are babies who are:

  Male. Boy babies are more likely to die of SIDS.
  Between 1 month and 6 months of age. Infants are most vulnerable during the second and third months of life.
    Premature or of low birth weight. Your baby is more susceptible to SIDS if he or she was premature or had a low birth weight.
    Black, American Indian or Native Alaskan. For reasons that aren’t well understood, there appears to be an association between race and the risk of SIDS.
  Placed to sleep on their stomachs. Cultural differences in child care practices — such as whether babies are placed to sleep on their backs — may be a factor. Babies who sleep on their stomachs are much more likely to die of SIDS than are babies who sleep on their backs. At highest risk are babies who are used to sleeping on their backs and are suddenly switched to stomach sleeping. At one time, doctors recommended stomach sleeping because babies rest more soundly in that position. But it’s now known that stomach sleeping greatly increases a baby’s risk. Side sleeping — because infants placed on their sides are likely to roll to their stomachs — and soft bedding have also been found to contribute to risk.
    Born to mothers who smoke or use drugs. Smoking cigarettes during or after your pregnancy puts your baby at considerably higher risk of SIDS. Using drugs such as cocaine, heroin or methadone while you’re pregnant also increases the risk.
    Exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. Infants exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk of SIDS.
    Born during the fall or winter months. More SIDS cases occur when the weather is cooler.
    Overheated. Some evidence suggests that babies who are overdressed, covered with multiple blankets or whose rooms are too warm are at greater risk of SIDS, especially if they’re put to sleep on their stomachs.
    Recently recovered from an upper respiratory infection. Evidence of infection within four weeks of death is a common finding in SIDS autopsies.
    Siblings of a baby who died of SIDS. The extent of the risk increase is unknown, but probably small. Genetic disorders, such as prolonged QT syndrome, may be involved.

MN Mama

March 11, 2011, 11:13 p.m.

And you know what else?

I cannot even begin to tell you how many young citizens join the military FOR the benefits to support their families. AS their first reason, as well.

I am a career Army brat and Army wife. I know plenty about housing, thank you. It is extremely immature and disrespectful to throw out name calling, such as idiot and moron.

Having that many children is, after all, a lifestyle choice. If you had issues with the housing, you truly shouldn’t have lived there. If your rent cost exceeds BAH, I’d find ways to pay for it! Especially if the health and safety of your family depend on it!!


March 11, 2011, 11:20 p.m.

Hey MN Mama do you not have anything better to do with your time?  You are not needed here. If you have nothing to add to help find a solution to stop innocent babies from dying at Ft. Bragg than please refrain from commenting.  I am trying my best to hold my tounge however your insensitivity is making it very difficult for me.  I appreciate your info on SIDS but as I pointed out to you a death can not be ruled SIDS if there was anything going on before with the child.  And a ME is not just going to slap down a cause of death of SIDS down because they are not on a military base while an ME on a military base is going to put undetermined down as the cause of death.

MN Mama

March 11, 2011, 11:20 p.m.

Shannon, I am most certainly not ashamed of my post. You say how dare I speak about the military when you are verbally abusing them. You are not speaking about one person in particular, you are making generalized statements about Ft. Bragg. This would include all soldiers.

What I am ashamed of, is how you would attack someone for their opinion. And so tastelessly, at that. I have provided what I believe to be an excellent source of information, as well as a very possible cause of death. Instead of calling me an ignorant idiot and moron, you could have just agreed to disagree.

Excuse me for being “sick and tired” of hearing people who have NO affiliation with the military, calling this a cover-up and stooping so low as to say they were experimenting on families. You should get out while you can! Tell your husband to run for the hills!! You, yourself, should have been appalled by that statement. Yet, you aren’t. You are fueling the fire, and the wrong one.

MN Mama

March 11, 2011, 11:25 p.m.

Ryan, you clearly cannot read. You say “a death can not be ruled SIDS if there was anything going on before with the child.”
Do you personally know every single child that died? Do you personally know that something was going on with them before they died? Because I myself, as you supposedly, have done my reading. Not every child had issues before they died. That is why the cause is unknown. Do you know what SIDS stands for? SUDDEN infant death syndrome.

It is SUDDEN for a reason. Now, I am not saying that every child died from SIDS. Even though 1 child already has been ruled a SIDS baby..did you know that Ryan? Or do you choose to throw that child in with your conspiracy theory? I would love to get to the bottom of the story just as much as everyone else. However, my thinking is that even if the ruling came out that the deaths were the cause of hereditary factors or SIDS or unfortunate suffocation, etc. etc. that people such as yourself, will still believe it is all one big cover-up. I do not think you have good intentions for the family. I think your intention is to do harm. If this turns out to be a huge cover-up, you can have my apology on record. Until then, this is all still under investigation and speculation will continue. This is a public space for people to speculate. You speculate conspiracy, I speculate other factors.

Being civil however, is what is truly needed in this matter.


March 11, 2011, 11:29 p.m.

Disrepectful Mama,
You are something else. To think that you have children and you would still comment here acting as if you have no soul, is a shame. I don’t care what your opinion is, but we’re not talking about statistics here. I am talking about MY NEPHEW who lost his life on February 24 after living for only 4 months and 15 days. Our opinions may clash, but the death of baby Jaxson Gene Garza is not a point to be argued or a statistic to list. Until the cause of his death is determined, our family will do whatever needs to be done to fight for sweet Jaxson and all the other victims who don’t have a voice. Instead of typing your statistics, opinions, and “facts,” why don’t you say a prayer tonight for baby Jaxson and his grieving sisters, brother, mother, father, and the rest of his family.


March 11, 2011, 11:29 p.m.

MN Mama the reason we believe there is a cover up is because there have been proper chamber testing of drywall from some of the homes that came back above the CDC allowed level but those test results were not taken into consideration.  Instead there was a second less accurate test done that showed acceptable levels and those results were instead used.  The drywall in question needs to be tested properly as these families deserve answers.  Even if they aren’t the answers they assume they are going to find they deserve honest answers.  I would hope as a mother and a military wife you would be able to see yourself in any of these parents position and feel for them instead of saying you are sick and tired of hearing other peoples opinions.

MN Mama

March 11, 2011, 11:35 p.m.

Ryan, I appreciate your reply back. A lot more civil, I do appreciate it. From what I read though, the levels came back normal. Did you happen to see the Environ report by any chance? It’s about a 263 page report about their findings and testings done. I simply “googled” it. I’d be interested in your thoughts on it! Sincerely. (It’s truly hard to hear a persons genuine interest over the internet, but mine is sincere).

MN Mama

March 11, 2011, 11:41 p.m.

Ryan-Just for the record though, the only opinions I stated of being sick and tired of, were those involving a conspiracy. I specifically stated the theory one had that the military was possibly testing experiments on the families. THAT is what truly blew my mind. This is what I feel the families do not need to hear. If it comes out to be the truth, then holy moly will I have lost faith in all the things I’ve ever believed in. However, I will hold out hope that this was never the case.


March 11, 2011, 11:42 p.m.

MN Mama To answer your first question I can read but thank you for your concern. I did know that one death was ruled SIDS, I also know that one was an unintentional suffication.  I do know what I am talking about, not only have I spent countless hours reading articles about these children, I am also this sweet baby Jaxsons aunt.  So how dare you say you dont think I have good intentions for the family.  I AM THE FAMILY!  I have the best intentions at mind.  Not only do I want answers for Jaxson I also want to stop any other family from going thru the pain I watched my sister, her husband and their other children experience.

I have saids what I have about SIDS because I have a medical background.  All of the deaths were ruled SIDS in the beginning but were later changed to undetermined.  Were you aware of that?  Probally not so don’t try to throw your little bit of knowledge of this in my face because I have more than you will ever have about this.

J. Cogbill

March 12, 2011, 12:08 a.m.

Also, as someone who has lived in this housing and had family members experience significant ill health effects, it is not possible to identify problems such as dry wall “off-gassing” during an initial walk-through inspection with housing.  So no, we did not know when we moved in that there would be dry wall dust in the air, under and in the carpeting, etc.  Also, our house did not have animal feces or urine in it.  We were not living in our own filth.  We maintain a very clean house, and yet my wife had to wear a paper mask for the last couple months of the 4 and 1/2 we lived there.  Her symptoms would clear up after she was out of the house for a while.  I’m not stating there is a conspiracy, but it is insensitive for Fort Bragg officials to subtly infer that it is the families’ fault, and to declare without reservation that they are confident the housing is safe.  I am a career military officer and I love the Army, but in this case I think the Fort Bragg officials are trying to cover themselves and not doing what is best for the troops and their community.

Crystal P.

March 12, 2011, 12:14 a.m.

@J. Cogbill, as a career military officer, I would think one would have some pull around post? Not to throw rank into this mix, but my father is a career Army officer and if he was living in such deplorable conditions to where my mother had to wear a mask, you can guarantee that heads would roll…..

J. Cogbill

March 12, 2011, 12:27 a.m.

Well, this was 2006.  Before any infant deaths.  We were the first tenants in a brand new home.  I had no idea that this would be or was endemic to all of the housing.  The good thing for us was it was a short stay—only 4 and 1/2 months and then PCS.  Also at the time, I was a Captain—not exactly a senior officer, so not a lot of pull, but certainly we got pretty into it with Picerne.  They professionally cleaned our carpets, which seemed to help a little.  Again, I have it all documented.

Crystal P.

March 12, 2011, 12:32 a.m.

@J. Cogbill, Ah, that makes sense. Well I’m happy you two were able to move on and get things documented. So, if you don’t mind my asking, you honestly do feel there is something much more sinister/shady going on with the Ft. Bragg officials concerning these deaths? In your opinion, what do you think could be the cause? I’ve heard so many different things throughout this post, especially. I’d be intrigued to know what an Army officer would think this is.

Crystal P.

March 12, 2011, 12:38 a.m.

Also, I do feel horrible for the families. I especially feel sorry for the Garza family, as it touches home with me. I have a daughter who will be 5 months on the 14th of this month. If I remember correctly, the two are close in age. I cannot imagine this happening to my daughter. I’m just a Ntl. Guard wife, but I was born in the Active Army lifestyle up until my father in ‘09. I would sincerely hope that the military is not involved in anything experimental as some have said. I would also hope though, that the bottom of this issue is reached. I don’t think the community could handle another death at this rate. I have a girlfriend who lives at Ft. Bragg with her daughter who is 5 days older than mine. I have been meaning to ask her about her experiences living there; would be curious to see what she has to say, be it good or bad.

J. Cogbill

March 12, 2011, 12:38 a.m.

I think they are trying to run from as opposed to confront the problem.  They are trying to avoid the responsibility and the costs that would be incurred to really fix the problem.  I think the Commander has been very poorly advised by his public affairs people.  He is coming off as insensitive, and frankly, irrational in his comments.  When senior Army officials tried to take the same approach to the poor conditions at some Walter Reed facilities, they were relieved of their positions.  After that Army officials were forthright in confronting the issues and worked to implement real change.  I believe that is what is needed here.

Crystal P.

March 12, 2011, 12:43 a.m.

@J. Cogbill, I feel it is very unfortunate that he is being ill-advised, if that is the issue. Perhaps he should pick up a pen and sincerely write to these families himself with his own words, rather than those scripted from public affairs writers and advisers. Or has he do we know? From these postings by the family, it does not appear that way yet.


March 12, 2011, 12:53 a.m.

J. cogbill I really appreciate you sharing your personal story of living at Ft Bragg and dealing with Picerne. Our goal here in not to disrespect the military. My father is military and two of my brother-in-laws, my only goal is to find answers and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions so this comes to an end. We can not bring back the 12 babies that have died, including my precious nephew Jaxson but we can honor their lives and memories by not letting this continue to happen. If there is a reason and it can be stopped our goal is to stop it and to stop anyone from pretending it doesn’t exist. I agree that it was insensitive for anyone at Ft Bragg to insunate the families were at fault for lifestlye conditions. My sisters house was not filthy by any means. It was a home with four children so it wasn’t spotless but it was always clean. I think any mom with a husband who is gone crazy hours who has four children would agree that scrubbing your baseboards isn’t the top of your priority list but maintaining a clean healthy home is. I would like to see the Garrison commander house who made that comment. Also the Garza were put into a hotel on post when they were first stationed at Ft Bragg. When a home became available they had 10 days to move into it so for MN Mama to say they should have hired an inspector is unreasonable. As far as the deaths, 3 homes have been brand new, 3 have been minorly renovated and 3 majorly renovated so it seems all types of homes were involved.

Crystal P.

March 12, 2011, 1:03 a.m.

@Shannon, I respect your opinions that you have made on here and I think everyone would love to see this come to an end, one way or another. While I respect them as I said, I also feel you are too invested to be replying back to some of the responses. While I cannot imagine losing my child, I can imagine wanting to be the bigger person and let whatever ignorance you feel there is, be. It is clearly not worth your time and is probably only giving you the biggest headache out there. I know mine is hurting over here just reading all of the back and forth with everyone here.

However, I believe MN Mama did not say to hire a professional inspector as you said. I believe what was said was that the house should be properly inspected before moving in. And if it wasn’t, to bring up all these issues. We here have no idea if these issues were brought up, but you being family, might. You have to understand that everyone is just speculating at this point. You seem to know more than everyone else about the situation, respectably, being a family member, so rather than attacking each other on here, perhaps enlightening in a more polite manner would suffice?

I think the moderators should stop on in and pay a visit.. It is in the Terms and Privacy Policy of posting comments that “You agree that your posted comments intended for display on our site (“Reader-Submitted Content”) will not include any content that is illegal, indecent, profane, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy or otherwise injurious to third parties; and that it will not consist of or contain software viruses, political campaigning, commercial solicitation, chain letters, mass mailings or any form of “spam.” ”

Crystal P.

March 12, 2011, 1:05 a.m.

@Shannon and Ryan, my apologies on the slip up of who was whom. I was reading the back and forth between Shannon and MN Mama when I posted my comment and meant to direct the above comment to Ryan about the MN Mama comment.

I feel the name-calling is quite indecent. While I understand tempers are heated and emotions are running high for some, the name-calling could be kept to a minimum on here. We are all adults, are we not?


March 12, 2011, 1:08 a.m.

Crystal P Jaxson would have been 5 months old on March 9 so yes your daughter is very close to his age. I would talk to your friend and ask her about her house. My sister recieved a notice that housing was safe just before Jaxson died. I would encourage to look up symptoms and fully educate herself since she has such a young child. Like I have said all along my goal is to get answers and to not see another family go thru this horrible loss.

The Garrison Commander has not sent a personal apology. That would be nice however the best thing he could do it to help us get to the bottom of this. We just want help finding out what is going on here.


March 12, 2011, 1:08 a.m.

Thank you very much to Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, and Aaron Kessler, Sarasota Herald-Tribune for bringing the CDW stories to public. You have done an outstanding job to help us victims.

Crystal P.

March 12, 2011, 1:11 a.m.

@Ryan, Wow. A bit of eerie information hearing that he would have been 5 months on the 9th. My friend who lives at Bragg whose daughter is 5 days older than mine, was born on the 9th of Oct as well. Boy do I hate coincidences. I got goosebumps when reading that. That is extremely heartbreaking to know.


March 12, 2011, 1:29 a.m.

Crystal P I am very close to the situation and there have been many times I have bit my tongue at some comments.  I think what was too much was seeing someone tell me I didn’t have the familys best interest in mind.  I am simply here to read comments and hope there are some that are helpful to the situation.  I am also here to help spread information that may not be known.  Such as me telling you to talk to your friend.  Yes we have had a great loss in our family and are very sad but if by reading these post I can find even one family, such as your friend, and pass along information that may help her than I will feel that I am doing something to honor Jaxsons memory.  I am an adult and I would hope that others who claim to be adults would be able to respect that this is a young boys life that was lost that we are all talking about and be more sensitive in what they post here. 

Crystal P if your friend needs any futher information please let us know.  We truely don’t want this to happen again.  Not to say that it would to your friend but just the fact that she has a small child living on Ft. Bragg is enough to scare any mother.


March 12, 2011, 1:31 a.m.

DJ I agree it is wonderful that they are bringing light to this situation.  Have you been affected by CDW?

Crystal P

March 12, 2011, 1:41 a.m.

@Ryan, I appreciate your concern and will pass on the information to my friend. I messaged her through Facebook, and am waiting to hear back from her.

I will respond back and let her know that she has an ally out there, if she has concerns and is not sure what to do about them.

Thank you!

Dee Giordano

March 12, 2011, 7:15 a.m.

I have been speaking with so many families in Florida who have moved from their homes after their infants have become ill or had breathing problems.  The one thing that everyone of them has in common is the contaminated drywall found in their homes.  Recent testing results from the Berkeley labs shows that the original methods of tesing sulfurs in the drywall were inaccurate and understated.  The CPSC now needs to go back to the homes originally tested and find out just how bad the sulfurs really are. In the meantime it is criminal of our government not to warn families with young children that there is at least a health issue making their children sick.  Then they could decide if they are willing to take a chance by living in the house.  When you lose the 12th child after telling families it is safe to stay in these houses, you have to reevaluate that decision and at the very least warn them.  Moms would not stay if they thought their children were being made ill by the construction materials of a house.  At least private doctors have told families to move out risking losing their homes rather than risk losing their children.  It is time for the Military to do the same regardless of what the Federal government tells them.


March 12, 2011, 8:28 a.m.

@Ryan and @ Shannon.. You all need to back off and wait for the autopsy.. WTH nice to see everyone seems to “know” why the infant died and the 11 others.. Where is your degree that states you are an expert .. Oh and nice throw in for Shannon that she is and has knowledge of the medical field lol give me a break. I have sympathy for all the parents that lost there babies but I have none for family members who claim they want to get the word out about something they don’t know a whole lot about.. Please.. tell me what the history is behind the Chinese drywall , how many homes were and can be affected… how many tons of it came to the US? when? how ? I did not post anything about myself , my background ect.. but I get attacked because you both seem to think you know it all… How about going and taking care of and helping YOUR family who lost that poor baby instead of sitting your butts at the computer thinking you are doing good.
As far as Florida it is a different thing than what is going on here… No one wants to look outside the box and see how many things in life and an environment that shows the same symptoms of CDW that could have played a factor in these deaths. Also, its not very nice to say horrible things about the Garrison Commander when you do not know him personally. You both are attacking and going after anyone who shares a different opinion than yours.. Something I have had to deal with first hand with psychosomatic people all because people like those in Florida feel the need to step into this situation and scare people when this is different.
Like I said before my heart goes out to all the people in Florida and not to mention Louisiana that have been affected by CDW. But don’t you think you should step back and not get involved in the fort Bragg situation until you know for a FACT what is going on..

And just a small amount of info about me as I do not want You two in particular to know a lot about my life as apparently you are NOT open minded think inside and outside the box people and on top of it you two are way to close to all of this.
I am married to a United States Soldier who has and is still int he Military for 25 years. I have 4 kids, I have been stationed to more than 5 military bases and my husband has been stationed to more than 7 in his Military Career. I have a Masters Degree in Psychology , trained in first Aid and CPR, have worked and been certified in the CDC/CYS on a military post.
Also if you ask any Pediatrician they will tell you that if you Feed and infant then put them in a bouncy seat/ swing that it could cause them to throw up and choke on the throw up. Also if they are bouncing to hard they can cause death. And YES babies even at 4 months of age can bounce pretty hard. I have worked with many babies of that age as well of having my own.
I also live in Military housing on Fort Bragg and we have not been sick above the norm. I have taken every precaution to make sure I have the right air filter to pick up any pollutants in my air that I cannot see , feel, smell..
It would be nice if everyone would take a step back and instead of being like we were sick blah blah blah , allow the family’s to grieve . Stop feeding there heads full of crap ..
Like I said before, I FULLY support Picerne and the Garrison Commander of Fort Bragg. Those people have worked very hard to do what they can to help the family’s and make them comfortable. Ryan wants to blame the Garrison Commander for all the deaths..?? why he wasn’t there, he didn’t do it…
There is no cover up , no conspiracy.. Just family’s grasping for straws…
Everyone needs to grow up and realize that when people make comments to articles like this one that you do not know the people, there background.. there life… I call all of you nut jobs because all the test have been done, people are doing all they can to come to a conclusion of all of this and you people only want to see what you want to see and nothing else.. WTH come on…. You all have no real facts.. No proof of Chinese drywall.. but you will pretend you do, you will lie that you do.. All for what ?? Money?? I have seen more comments come from this family alone about money and bah ect.. What you want Bragg to give you enough money to live off post?? What if there is Chinese drywall off post?? huh? plenty of homes off post built during the same time as all of the ones on post by guess what the same contractor…


March 12, 2011, 10:27 a.m.

Yes, Col. Sicinski,I “...follow what you are saying” and I’d think most others will as well. And what I follow is an offensive, irresponsible and tragic attempt to place blame on families for what appears to be a serious construction/contractor fault. You need to retract that desperate attempt to deflect accountability and conduct a serious investigation. A first question I have is how the rate of infant deaths at Bragg compares to other Army bases of comparable size.

Either way, your response as identified in this article was shameful.

Crystal P

March 12, 2011, 11:12 a.m.

@Lou, what you have to remember is that this guy gets fed speeches and responses through his public affairs people. HE isn’t the one making these statements, it’s his people.

@ Everyone else,
So, if anything, lash out at them. This poor guy probably would want nothing more than to personally/publicly acknowledge what is going on, but he would probably lose his career for it. A stake too high for most to risk. Again, until you’re in his shoes, you couldn’t have any idea how that would feel, just as he might not know what losing a child is like. Yet, none of us know that do we? He might know exactly what it’s like. He might be completely torn up inside about all this and feel completely helpless because his hands are tied and his every move is being watched right down to the last eyelash flutter.

So give the man a freaking break. This whole thread has become shameful already. I’m embarrassed for humanity at this point if this is how you all would act towards each other.

Shouldn’t the point be to just “find the truth.” Rather than digging relentlessly hoping for gold? You all should be ashamed. Placing blame will not get the truth. Making educated guesses, with sources and FACTS, and a sound mind, is what gets to the bottom of things. Not lashing out and acting like fools for the world to see. It’s a sad thing for anyone’s child to die. Here we have 10 unconfirmed causes of death, for which we need to get to the bottom of. So how about everyone get off their butts, get out in the world, and do good there. It is very clear that nothing is being solved here. How can you expect it to when no one is accepting anyone elses view but their own? It is so very childish and close-minded.


March 12, 2011, 12:18 p.m.

Starting to wonder, actually, which posters might be shills for the army. But that aside, Crystal, I found your ’ defense’ of the poor, stressed base commander oddly taken. Did he close his eyes and ears and blankly read whatever he is given? I surely hope not. Is he responsible for what happens on his base? I surely hope so.

No, I’d say that the Commander knew EXACTLY what he wa saying and what he was saying was an affront to the families who lost their babies whatever the cause turns out to be. He made a rather direct inference that it was the families who must consider if it was their own behavior that killed their children.

The Commander owes those families an apology and the base an honest investigation…nothing more and nothing less.


March 12, 2011, 12:59 p.m.

The commander owes no apology’s to the family’s for what he said. He did not say anything out of line. And again someone sits on there but at a computer saying that because someone is defending the commander and the post and picerne that they must be an insider ect.. CLOSED MINDED PEOPLE… I am done with this thread because all it is is people assuming things about those who post positive things and side with the people in charge.
The parents , living environment ect DOES need to be looked at because like I have said before other factors can contribute to an infants death..


March 12, 2011, 1:51 p.m.

@ER where did you read that we the family are interested in money? You said you read that several times yet no where have we ever mentioned money because that is not what this is about.  I believe I have stated many times that what we are wanting is honest answers, whatever they may be and to stop this from happening again.  I’m sure you find that hard to believe but I can tell you that if we can do those two things we will feel that we are honoring Jaxsons life and memory in the best way possible.  I have also stated that no one can bring back our preciuos baby Jaxson but answers on why he died would help his family.  I am not saaying I want to be told it was CDW, if that is not the case than that is not the answer we want.  We just want the truth.  We want the proper testing done.  I am sure if this was your family you would want the same. And I never blamed the Garrison Commander for the deaths, where you got that information is beyond me.  I simply said what he said was insensitive.  His comment was actaully made on Feb 12, 12 days before Jaxson died so it wasn’t aimed at my sister but the simple fact that he would say it about any family is wrong.  I don’t blame him for the deaths however I don’t think he needs to make statements insinuating blame to the family. 

@Lou I appreciate what you have said about the Garrison Commander.  You are correct, he owes the family nothing more than an apology and a proper investigation.


March 12, 2011, 1:53 p.m.

Thank you ER for being done with this thread.  Your comments are not needed here.  I hope you are able to enjoy your day as not sticking around here should free up some of your time.


March 12, 2011, 5:15 p.m.

To Ryan, Yes, I am a CDW victim and it was Propublica and Hearaldtribune who for the first time exposed our builder WCI who knowingly sold houses to us in 2006. Please go to and access the May 30th, 2010 issue and the front page says” A builder’s Secret”. You will learn a lot about the CDW flow to our country from that article as well. I must say, if WCI could do this knowingly to 2000 + families, Picarene could do the same. They do not know what “moral”, or “good conscience” means. 

A month before we settled our house, WCI, board members had a meeting debating weather or not tell us about the mistake with the CDW or close the deal before walk through, they opt to close the home instead of telling us the truth and thus sparing us and our neighbors from the misery!!

They built their first CDW home in Sun city center in Florida in 2005 about the same time we came from Washington DC area and signed a contract with WCI to build our dream retirement home and kept quite about it and because of their greed, they kept building houses and selling it as late as 2008!  We were getting sick and thought it was the Florida weather or pollen making us sick, until the fall of 2008 we found out about CDW and by then, WCI had declared bankruptcy and thus jumped ship.

CPSC conducted a detailed test in our home and we got a 200+ pages report. The strontium level in our CDW was 1900 when it was supposed to be fewer than 300.
I am a very healthy gym going person who never took a single hour of sick leave during my 33+ work years, ended up going to a GP (several times), Cardiologist, Ophthalmologist, Allergist, and a Pulmonary doc, within six months. In the mean time our neighbors also were getting sick with cough, headaches, bleeding nose etc None of us were able to talk on the phone inside the house with out coughing, meaning the gases are going to the mouth and making us cough especially when the air condition is running. One day one of my neighbors from a golf buddy found about the CDW and told me the cause of the cough was the gases coming from the CDW.
We became volunteers to get the word out just like you are doing now Ryan. Thank you.
We have over 700+ CDW victim’s contact information that our group communicates with. As soon as CPSC came up with the protocol to remediate, we stripped down every thing to the cement blocks and rebuilt our house, however, my neighbors are still suffering!

Ryan and Shannon, and your family, our hearts go out to you, please keep writing and get the word out thus make Jaxson’s spirit alive, he is the 12th, he completed the dozen for a very good reason.  Even now there are a lot of families still do not know CDW is causing them to get sick. The CDC is keeping it quiet so none of the medical community is collecting data for them like SARS and west nile virus out breaks because the Toxicologists for each state is told to deny the health connection to the CDW. We are it, Ryan and Shannon, Jaxson is the 12th man and he did not die in vein if we could inform more and more families. The Government is claiming that there is not enough people are affected so they are using that as an excuse.
Please do not give up keep writing, CDW volunteer group is sending out the sweet 12 babies’ stories to all our CDW victims.  They are all supporting you, FYI.

Marlena W

March 12, 2011, 9:18 p.m.

I am not at Fort Bragg but at Fort Polk where housing is also run by PICERNE. To say the least Picerne is a company only out there for the money. I have called many times now due to a problem with my HVAC system (our air conditioning) smelling like mildew. What do they do spray it with some spray that fixes it for a few days then the smell comes back within a few days. Unfortuantely our HVAC units are not run by picerne but by another company but neither seems worried about it.

What is happening at Fort Bragg is a tragedy. Someone needs to figure out what is happening.


March 12, 2011, 10:11 p.m.

To Marlene W: I am a CDW victim. Our HVAC was the first one to go, The coil was black and the builder conveniently replaced it immediately free of charge and also offered us one year etc warranty, builder WCI new of CDW, but we did not know then. The new one also turned black in a few months. Next to go was the new GE refrigerator, followed by three computers, printers etc. Health symptoms are running eyes; cough, followed by coughing out the clear stuff. After a while you will loose the sense of smell ‘old factory fatigue’ kicks in by now you cannot smell anymore, instead you will get head ache, rashes on the skin, pain on the exposed skins, followed by insomnia, and increased amount of hair loss.

If the CDW victim is a cancer survivor, they experience nosebleeds, severe headaches etc. For those who have Asthma, they will have breathing difficulties especially when the humidity out side is high. If you or any of your friends have any of the symptoms listed above, please leave the house that is the only solution. My friend Toxicologist told me that the sulfur dioxide, carbonyl sulfide, carbonyl disulfide, formaldehyde, and nitrous oxide, coming out of   CDW during offgasing, all would have long-term effect if inhaled for a longer period. Pets are also affected, unusual amount of shedding; they will also have breathing difficulties, running eyes and most of the symptoms that human being experience. Poor things could not talk like our twelve babies. My two neighbors lost their cat and dog to CDW. Where is PETA when we need them?


March 12, 2011, 10:23 p.m.

To Marlena W: I am a CDW victim. Our HVAC was the first one to go, The coil was black The new one also turned black in a few months. It was followed by the new GE refrigerator,  three computers, printers etc. Health symptoms are running eyes; cough, followed by coughing out the clear stuff. After a while you will loose the sense of smell ‘old factory fatigue’ kicks in, you will get head ache, rashes on the skin, pain on the exposed skins as gases penetrate, followed by insomnia, and increased amount of hair loss.
My neighbors had nosebleeds, severe headaches etc. For those who have Asthma, they will have breathing difficulties especially when the humidity out side is high. If you or any of your friends have any of the symptoms listed above, please leave the house that is the only solution. My friend Toxicologist told me that the sulfur dioxide, carbonyl sulfide, carbonyl disulfide, formaldehyde, and nitrous oxide, coming out of CDW during offgasing, all would have long-term effect if inhaled for a longer period. Pets are also affected, unusual amount of shedding; they will also have breathing difficulties, running eyes and most of the symptoms that human being experience. Poor things could not talk like our twelve babies. My two neighbors lost their cat and dog to CDW. Where is PETA when we

A concerned mom

March 13, 2011, 2:26 p.m.

I live in Fort Bragg housing.  We will be having our house tested for black mold this week, hopefully…Picerne tends to ignore our work orders for environmental issues, as I have called numerous times for air quality issues and they have never shown up to take care of it.  However, after reading this story and doing some research of my own, I will not stop until this is done.  My son has had many neurological disorders come up since we’ve lived in housing.  We moved here when he was 10 months old.  At 10 months, he already had some developmental delays because of prematurity, however, it wasn’t that bad.  At 12 months the neurologist did an MRI and found no permanent brain damage, but at 24 months there was another MRI done that showed he had a stroke, and things have gone downhill from there.  He is 7 1/2 now, with permanent hemiplagia (the entire right side of his body doesn’t work right), epilepsy, and a possible Autism Spectrum Disorder, not to mention the unexplainable high fevers (over 103 degrees).  My oldest child who is now nearly 17 years old, and was perfectly healthy, only missed at most 5 days of school from kindergarten until fifth grade, when we moved on post, has suffered from numerous respiratory issues, developed ADD out of the blue, and suffers from depression.  My youngest child, who is 4 1/2 years old, and has spent her entire life in Fort Bragg housing, has had bad enough respiratory infections to cause bleeding, constant digestive problems, as well as a skin disorder.  Most of the issues the girls have completely clear up when we go to visit family for more than a day or two.  Because my son’s central nervous system has been so severely damaged over the years, the only improvement we see when we leave here is that the fevers don’t happen anymore.

Crystal P

March 13, 2011, 3:13 p.m.

@Lou, you need to re-correct your statement. It is not 12 unknown deaths any longer. The tally is 10. I am not trying to take away from the fact that 10 is still a large number, but 2 HAVE BEEN ruled out as SIDS and accidental suffocation. We really need to realize this knowledge.

@ Everyone else,
For every negative experience on Bragg, there is always a positive.

I checked in with my friend on post with her 5 month old daughter, and she had nothing negative to say whatsoever.

She has been living on post since before she was pregnant, with no issues concerning her health or that of her daughter. Now that her daughter is born, she says they are both in extremely great health, as is her husband. She also told me she has several fellow Army wives who live close to her on post who also have no issues to report with their housing. She is not concerned for her health or that of her family because their house was checked and cleared. By whom, I’m not sure, but even if it wasn’t, she states that “while it is sad what happened to the other babies, I am not concerned for ours.”

I hope others with positive experiences continue to come forward and show that there isn’t always a negative. Myself, nor my friend are “insiders” and have nothing to gain but peace of mind.

I do feel horrible for the other families with negative experiences and of course, those families who have suffered such horrible losses.

Crystal P

March 13, 2011, 4:01 p.m.

Huge mistake, I meant to say My friends and I are NOT insiders.

Chinese Drywall

March 13, 2011, 4:08 p.m.

A concerned mom.  Please contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  After two years of living the Chinese Drywall disaster I know I can assist you on that end and after the last week of contacts I think I can help on both fronts of mold and Chinese drywall.  I am not a business, lab, lawyer… I am just a mom not wanting anyone else to experience the disaster and cover up that we have had to live with for the last two years of our lives.


March 13, 2011, 10:10 p.m.

I cannot believe no one else was offended by MN mama’s statement that we military families get all these perks like BAS, BAH and “free” healthcare….!!

While we certainly receive excellent health (and other) benefits, they are most certainly NOT free!  Thanks to the Army, my husband and I have spent just about half of our 7 year marriage apart.  2 1/2 years he was on another continent.  He’s missed birthdays, Christmases, first steps, first words, field trips, hugs, and “I love you, Daddy’s.”  I’ve spent about 7 of our 10 Valentine’s Days apart, I usually get flowers on my birthday because my husband is not home to take me to dinner, and I go to work, take care of our home, and raise our two young children while he is serving his country.

My husband is good at his job.  He enjoys his job.  He is proud to serve his country.  And his family is, too.  But it comes with a cost that “free” healthcare and living expenses can NEVER compensate for.

To lose a baby is so devastating that I cannot begin to imagine it!  My thoughts and prayers are with those families, and with the families of people who have had lasting health problems after living in Ft. Bragg Picerne housing.  I have been following this story closely because my husband is due to PCS to Bragg later this year, and with our two young children (one who is an infant!)  we are strongly leaning toward renting off post.

Crystal P

March 13, 2011, 10:49 p.m.

@Jenna, I think most were offended, but I believe everyone felt their time was better used elsewhere. I believe most of us here are Army wives and have all experienced what you have been through. I don’t feel you took what was said the way it was meant, however. She was trying to defend the military by saying joining us a voluntary position, but that in return, they do get compensation. More than most can say, to include police officers, firefighters, and others who protect our lives stateside. She stated  she was a military wife as well, so I highly doubt she meant to say that the benefits are just right for the cost of a soldiers life and family.  Things could be much worse for our military and our benefits.

However, that comment was a while ago and obviously, her time is better used elsewhere. We should move on to finding the answers to the current issues rather than keep referring back to othes ignorance.


March 14, 2011, 4:37 p.m.

Wow, do I ever know the meaning of cover up!  Toxic molds paralyzed me, by demyelinating my spinal cord.  If that’s not enough, it also gave me breast cancer.  And I’m far from the only one from that building—a so called “hospital.”  its DISGUSTING.


March 14, 2011, 9:24 p.m.

I am looking for some help.  I have reread all of the post and Colleen, CC, Chinese Drywall, Amber, J, Cogbill, DJ and Tori all mention personal stories of mold, CDW or both.  As I have mentioned before I am the aunt of the last baby that dies, Jaxson Garza.  My sister is taking her three children in to the doctor this week to have them evaluated for exposure to possible mold, CDW or both.  I have done some research and am very aware of the symptoms of both however there does not seem to be much information as far as what kind of medical testing can be done for exposure.  I was able to find a few test that are sometimes run for mold exposure but found none for CDW.  Are there any tests?  Do any of you have recommendations?  What did you have done?  Please help me.  The first appt is on Wednesday.

Please no one read into this.  We are simply covering all our bases.  I am not jumping to any conclusions however we do want to have the three other children tested for everything.  I think anyone reading this that takes the time to think of what it would feel like to be in my sisters shoes would do the very same thing after losing a child.  Also to set the record straight I am the one asking the questions for a few reasons, one she is very overwhelmed with everything she has been delt in the past few weeks, two this is something that I can do for her and being in another state theres not a lot I can do so I want to help her with anything possible and three because the temporary house she is in does not have internet access.  I just wanted to put that out there so no one has to waste anytime wondering why the mom isn’t asking this.

Thank you in advance for anyone that can help us.  We appreciate it.


March 14, 2011, 11:56 p.m.

Ryan, Unfortunately, there is no medical test to confirm CDW however, there are symptoms that CDW victims have in common that doctors are aware of but would not admit to it because CDC has not alerted them as of yet. The only thing they told us was it is obvious that your new house is making you ill, just leave. You already did your research and learned about the symptoms caused by CDW thus you are one step ahead now. Once again the symptoms are watering of the eye, respiratory problems, mucus problems,caugh especially when the aircondition or the heater is running, bleeding nose, caugh out clear stuff, increased hair loss, rashes, pain on the exposed skin due to gas penetration, difficulty in breathing, headache, vomiting, and insmomnia. If you have pets they would be shedding at an increased rate. They also have the same symptoms. The only way you will know if Jaxson died because of CDW is by testing the home that Jaxson once lived. That is what we CDW victims did. Consumer Product safty Commission (CPSC ) did the testing in our house. We had 100% CDW. Please contact CDC in your state and report the symptoms even though they are covering up. They are counting each calls and reporting to CPSC.

Crystal P

March 15, 2011, 12:26 a.m.

@DJ,  please do not take this offensively, but you pretty much just named every side effect under the sun. I have had multiple of the symptoms you listed and it’s all the wonderful world of seasonal allergies for me. Clear mucus is actually a good thing. Any Dr. would tell you that. Bloody noses? Those can easily be caused by either an air conditioner or heater on, all thanks to the dry air. My husband will attest to that fact. Insomnia? A baby/multiple children will do that to you any day of the week! Increased hair loss? Stress will also do that. Pain on the skin? That is a common flu-like symptom.

I think the point here is to just get your place tested by whomever you trust. Get the results back yourself and get a second opinion, at that. Going over symptom after symptom can be anything. You also have to realize that everyones body will act differently to different exposures. You have no idea what illnesses could be circulating around on top of the matter, adding to the symptoms, or taking away from them.

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