WASHINGTON (CBSMiami/CNN) – Additional remains of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an October 4th ambush in Niger, have been recovered.
The remains were discovered on November 12th by the military and an FBI team that traveled to the area where Johnson’s body was recovered.
“It is difficult to find the words to describe how dismaying it was to learn that some of Sgt. La David Johnson’s remains were found in Niger weeks after his funeral. My heart breaks for his widow, Myeshia, and the rest of his family, who upon hearing this news must have felt like they were losing him all over again,” said Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.
Wilson, who is a close friend of the Johnson family, said they are quite upset.
“It is unconscionable, it is painful to this family. How much can a Gold Star family take when you say to them that you cannot have an open casket funeral but we don’t know what happened to your husband, we don’t know what happened to your son, we don’t know what happened to your brother,” she said.
Sgt. Johnson’s sister spoke with CBS4 on Tuesday, saying she longs to know what happened to him.
“Family didn’t get the closure that they need yet. There is so many unanswered questions about what happened over there,” Angela Ghent said. “I plan to use every political platform there is to try to seek justice from my brother to find out what’s going on. It’s crazy.”
Johnson, who was from Miami Gardens, and three fellow American soldiers were killed conducting a patrol in an area where they were told not to expect any enemy contact. Two other soldiers were wounded.
Johnson’s body was found a distance from where the bodies of the other three soldiers were discovered.
The men were members of a team of U.S. advisors working with soldiers from Niger, about 40 in total, who set out to meet local village leaders that day.
They were ambushed by a band of fighters described in an after-action report as “well-trained, well-equipped and well-organized.” A band which the Pentagon now believes was a local offshoot of ISIS.
The patrol’s vehicles were destroyed and they were cut down as they tried to take cover.
French fighter jets arrived about half an hour later, and French troops evacuated the wounded. But somehow Sgt. Johnson was left behind. A beacon emitting from his uniform signaled that he might have survived the initial attack. His body was recovered two days later by local African forces.
Also killed, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright and Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson.
(©2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)