In the past month, four sailors who were stationed at the same Naval facility in Virginia killed themselves.
All the sailors are stationed at Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) at Naval Station Norfolk.
Janelle Holder, the most recent victim of the four, was discovered dead on November 26, according to Lt. Cmdr. Rochelle Rieger, a MARMC public affairs officer. The three other sailors died on October 29, November 5, and November 14, respectively. Their names were Kody Lee Decker, 22, of Virginia; Cameron Armstrong; and Deonte Autry, 22, of Monroe, North Carolina.
Local police agencies and the US Navy are currently looking into the circumstances behind these distinct instances.
At least four U.S. Navy sailors assigned to the same facility in Virginia died by suicide in the last few weeks, military officials and family members say. https://t.co/jyCk6BVHnj— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 2, 2022
“We mourn the loss of our shipmates and friends. Our thoughts and our deepest condolences are with these Sailors’ families, loved ones, and coworkers during this extremely difficult time. One suicide is too many and MARMC leadership is taking a proactive approach to support the team, improve mental fitness, and manage the stress of its sailors. We remain fully engaged with our sailors and their families to ensure their health and well-being, and to ensure a climate of trust that encourages sailors to ask for help,” Lt. Cmdr. Rochelle Rieger said in a statement.
A professional counselor named Kayla Arestivo, who was hired two weeks earlier, claimed to have been overwhelmed by the level of hopelessness at that time.
“Part of it is toxic leadership. The sailors immediately pointed that out.”
A friend of Decker’s who served at MARMC stated that additional suicides are anticipated.
The sailor claimed that if he had gone to MARMC and they had shown genuine concern, offered assistance, and followed up, this issue would not have arisen.
“More kids are going to lose their parents. More people are going to lose their spouses, unnecessarily. It doesn’t need to be this way.”