Navy criminal authorities are probing whether two SEAL Team 6 members recently strangled an Army Green Beret in Mali, according to The New York Times.
The Times on Sunday reported that staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar, 34, was found dead on June 4 in embassy housing in Mali’s capital of Bamako.
Melgar shared the space with a few other Special Operations forces assigned to the West African country to assist with training and counterterrorism there.
Military officials said that Melgar’s superiors in Stuttgart, Germany almost immediately suspected foul play.
An investigating officer was dispatched to the scene within 24 hours, they continued, and agents from the Army’s Criminal Investigative Command arrived soon after.
Those agents spent months on the case, the Times’ sources added, before relinquishing it to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in September.
A military medical examiner ruled that Melgar’s death was a “homicide by asphyxiation,” or strangulation, according to three military officials briefed on the autopsy results.
The two Navy SEALs have not been identified, and they have since been placed on administrative leave after getting flown out of Mali shortly after the incident.
Military officials said that Melgar was part of a small team in Bamako assigned to help provide intelligence about Islamic militancies in Mali to the U.S. ambassador there.
The intelligence Melgar’s team gave to Ambassador Paul A. Folmsbee helped protect American personnel from attacks in Mali.
Melgar also helped determine whether Malian troops might be trained and equipped to build a counterterrorism force.
Two senior U.S. military officials said that the pair of SEAL commandos were in Mali with Folmsbee’s approval.
The pair were helping French and Malian counterterrorism forces fight al Qaeda’s branch in North and West Africa, which is al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The SEALs also assisted against other al Qaeda-aligned cells and those affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The duo helped provide intelligence for missions, and both participated in at least two such missions in Mali this year prior to Melgar’s death.
Melgar is scheduled to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Nov. 20 as part of a final tribute.