CBS4 Investigates: Soldier Battling PTSD Ends His Life
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A South Florida soldier battling post-traumatic stress disorder whose struggles were previously profiled by CBS4 News has taken his own life.
Franklin Rosario, 26, died from multiple self-inflicted stab wounds.
“I pray everyday. I can not accept this. I ask God to help me with this,” said Mireya Rosario whose house is filled with pictures of her soldier son Franklin.
Mireya Rosario wants her son, nicknamed Frankie since he was a child, to be remembered as the young brave solider who headed off to war in Iraq, not the soldier that suffered from PTSD and ended his own life.
When Franklin Rosario returned to Miami from Iraq, the battle simply didn’t end there—the war raged-on in his head as he struggled with PTSD.
“Everything changed that day he came back,” Rosario shared with CBS Chief Investigative Reporter Michele Gillen. “But I accepted it because he was alive.”
Medical records dating back to 2007 and the battlefield show Franklin Rosario suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome and a traumatic brain injury. The records state, “He was evacuated from Iraq, he had a break with reality.”
In Miami, while reportedly threatening to kill himself and others while stockpiling weapons, a family member had reached out – time and time again- for help, fearing the solider would hurt himself and others.
“He was ready to explode,” Judge Steve Leifman told Gillen in an interview after his office had received an e-mail from a concerned relative.
Within minutes, a specially trained police team went to rescue Rosario.
Putting his life on the line, Miami-Dade police negotiator Victor Millian, he too an Iraqi war veteran, spent over five hours talking Rosario down. He remembers the troubled soldiers words to him.
“They don’t care. They don’t care,” recalled Millian.
A nightmare appeared diverted when Rosario was sent for treatment at South Florida State Hospital.
“Mommy, I want to kill myself. I want to cut my wrists,” his mother remembers him telling her.
Just two weeks ago, Rosario was released, arrested and handed over to law enforcement. Along with his weapons, police said they found two videos that allegedly contain pornography with apparent minors. Rosario was booked into the Miami-Dade jail. The last video of him was his appearance in bond court.
When the judged asked Rosario if he wanted to proceed without lawyer representation, he said no. The judge then asked, “You are going to hire a private lawyer? Do you have a name?” He responded “no.” It’s not clear what the judge knew or didn’t know about Rosario’s mental health and history.
A Miami-Dade detective in the courtroom testified about his suffering with PTSD and added, “He was just released from a mental health institute. He was there for five months. We recovered an enormous amount of guns from his house.”
The judge ordered Rosario to rid himself of all his guns.
Rosario complied and returned home without a gun, but days later ended his life with a knife.
“He was in the bathroom. When I found him he was dead. There was nothing I could for my son,” said his mother.
“They gave my son to police. They killed my son. Someone must explain this to me because I can’t explain this,” she said.
Upon getting the phone call that the former soldier was found dead, that he had taken his own life, Judge Leifman told GiIllen, “I was heartbroken. It explains why we have more suicides than we do deaths in combat and that is a horrible statistic.”
Judge Leifman believes that something must change to better-protect soldiers upon their return from war.
Will Rosario’s mother remember him as that brave solider?
“I think of him as my baby. My son. My whole. life.”
The State has opened an investigation into the hospital’s handling and release of the soldier.