The wife of an Elgin soldier who died last year says she now doesn't believe he died as a result of what her husband told her was a training accident in Texas.
Kris Hansley said she still has a lot of questions about the June 2011 death of her husband, Army Pfc. Timothy John "T.J." Hansley, 21, in a psychiatric hospital in El Paso, Texas.
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"He must have lied or something. He said he was injured in training, but his commander told us the training accident never happened," said Kris Hansley, who has since moved to New York.
But T.J. Hansley's mother, Patricia Hansley of Elgin, said she believes her son, who told her that the accident happened sometime in late 2010.
"I don't understand why Kris is saying it's lies. We've seen wounds on his face, shrapnel wounds on his legs. He took pictures with his camera phone," Patricia Hansley said.
The family thought T.J. Hansley was later hospitalized because of traumatic brain injury he suffered as a result of an accident, but the coroner's report listed the cause of death as mixed drug intoxication from prescription drugs, both Kris Hansley and Patricia Hansley said. Both questioned why he had so many prescription drugs in his system.
U.S. Army Major Carla Thomas, public affairs officer for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, said she couldn't comment on T.J. Hansley's medical history, but she said there is no record of any training accidents happening in Texas in 2010.
"I believe the Army is covering up, because I believe my son," Patricia Hansley said.
Both women said it's been difficult to cope with all the uncertainty and lack of information.
"I still have so many questions, to this day, about what actually happened," Kris Hansley said.
Patricia Hansley said she wishes her daughter-in-law still lived in Elgin.
"I miss my son, and now I miss Kris, too," she said.
T.J. Hansley was a graduate of South Elgin High School and enlisted in the Army in January 2009. He and Kristine married in spring 2010.
The Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission recently gave approval for the potential inclusion of Hansley's name on the Wall of Honor, said commission superintendent John Carr. The wall has 851 names of Kane County residents who died serving in the military going back to the Spanish-American War. Carr said Hansley is eligible, as are all member of the military who died in active duty.
Patricia and Kris Hansley both said they are waiting for the Army's final investigation report regarding T.J. Hansley's death. The brigade was deployed to Iraq in the second half of 2011, which might have delayed the process, Thomas said.
"Until I get all the final reports, I'll know then," Kris Hansley said.
Daily Herald staff writer Tara Garcia Mathewson contributed to this report.