Sen. Ernst Asking for Federal Investigation Following Death of Iowa Veteran

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DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is asking for a federal investigation into the death of an Iowa veteran. Police found the body of Richard Miles in Des Moines' Water Works Park Friday. Authorities are still waiting on an autopsy to confirm the cause of death but say they don't suspect anything suspicious.

Friends said Miles suffered from PTSD following three deployments to the Middle East. Friends expressed concern that Miles couldn't get the help he needed to prevent his death. They know he'd been struggling lately and that Miles knew he needed help.

Miles was well-known at the Science Center of Iowa where he worked explaining science to kids and adults who stopped by.

Friends said he disappeared a few weeks ago and they worried about him. Authorities believe Miles had likely been dead for several days when someone found him at waterworks park.

Senator Ernst has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Ernst has requested an examination of the Veterans Affairs Central Iowa Health Care System`s mental health programs.


  • John Smith

    Wow, as if the poor man’s death weren’t tragic enough all ready, now a politician is making the news calling for a Federal investigation before an autopsy is even done.

    I feel especially sorry for the surviving friends and family now.

    • Deb

      The Senator really plays the P.R. Good luck to you ever getting a reply from the the Senator, she’s really bad at this!

    • Brian

      Such a snarky remark. It would be much more honest of you to just say that you are a Democrat or that you dislike Ernst, rather than go after her because she’s asked for the investigation. An investigation is the right thing to do, he served his country honorably, and you should be ashamed of yourself for criticizing someone wanting to ascertain that nothing amiss happened here. That goes for the others here who made the snide remarks, too. You don’t have to agree with her politically or like her personally, but to denigrate her efforts on behalf of someone who died an odd death and was found in an odd place is unconscionable. Grow up.

      • John Smith

        Well, I’m not going to tell you that I’m a Democrat, since that would be a lie. As far as the rest is concerned, I would say it is FAR AND AWAY too early to assume that something is “amiss” here, and requires a Federal investigation.

        But, then I have a certain amount of faith in the DMPD’s abilities, as well as the ME’s. As opposed to Senator Ernst, who could not wait, even for an autopsy, to cast aspersions on them.

        So, go wave your flag elsewhere. Others of us will wait for some actual scientific facts.

      • blythe

        Interesting. Joni Ernst couldn’t pass a lie detector test on her bread bag story. People couldn’t work on a farm wearing bread bags instead of boots. Even the pork industry is laughing at her. She’s a fake.

    • Dawn

      Hey, John, how is Ernst wanting to find out if the system failed this guy as far as mental health care a bad thing? The DMPD isn’t going to investigate that.

      • John Smith

        That’s not the point, dimwit. The Senator not having the decency to wait long enough to even find out the cause of death for the poor guy IS.

    • Deb2

      How long ago did you write to her? I have always received answers from all of my congressmen, though it sometimes takes quite awhile to receive it. I realize they actually aren’t sitting there waiting to pounce on a letter as it comes in and have other things to do.

  • Hacksaw

    She is NOTHING but a “Grandstander” as evidenced by everything she says ! Everyone is concerned about Vet care but when is our Country going to fund Vet care for combat troops BEFORE sending more around the world ? We already have close to 300,000 around the World which by the way has caused more terrorism than its stopped. IMAGINE ?

  • Henry

    I personally served with SGT Miles in Iraq in 2003/04 I will say he was a upstanding soldier, leader, and friend. I am deeply saddened reading this article. He isn’t the first person I have served with that it has happened to. I extend my condolences to his family and friends. Godspeed my friend, walk peacefully on the streets of heaven you served your time in hell. Miss you buddy!

    • Doug

      Henry, please touch base with me regarding how you’re doing and anyone else you know about. I’ve been in touch with Shaw and Lockimeyer but haven’t located anyone else.

  • Let it Burn

    As a Veteran wounded 2006 I have 10 years of time with the VA System there are remarkable people who are often completely hamstrung by the administration. Overall to say it’s broken doesn’t begin to encompass the clossal failure. A state sentor cannot get the attention of the VA, and as for a federal senator they have no control over the system. For thoes of you jabbing for political points my personal rage knows no bounds. Perhaps you could try reading the article a few times to figure out what she is looking into. It has nothing to do with how he died but why wasn’t he being treated. I have less respect for those who choose to ding any politician for looking into the hell we have created than I do for the enemies we met on the battlefield.

    • John Smith

      At this point, the story has EVERYTHING to do with how this poor man died. There will be MORE than enough time to point fingers later, should any finger-pointing actually be justified. Trying to start the finger-pointing ahead of the known FACTS is the problem, not the solution.

  • Joe

    What about every other person who has died who was a veteran? Joni Ernst is just trying to make herself look important. She’s a mouth breather.

Comments are closed.

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