Real Name: CPT Jeffrey Scott Digman
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: San Diego, California
Date: January 22, 1989
Details: Jeffrey Digman was a United States Marine who was promoted to Captain at the age of twenty-eight. In June 1988, he and another officer bought a house together while they were stationed in San Diego. Four months later, on November 1, 1988, he was transferred to Puerto Rico. According to friends, he was initially unhappy about the move, but he eventually settled in. He began dating Lucy Garcia, an accountant at the base.
Just after Christmas, he returned to San Diego and spent two weeks at his home. He was scheduled to fly back to Puerto Rico on January 22, 1989, which was Super Bowl Sunday. At halftime, a neighbor saw him return home. His roommate had gone to Las Vegas for the weekend with his girlfriend. At 6PM, neighbors heard what they thought was the sound of a car backfiring.
Four hours later, at 10PM, his roommate returned but was surprised to find Jeffrey's car still in the driveway. His flight to Puerto Rico was scheduled to depart fifteen minutes earlier. The roommate believed someone was still inside, as the lights were on and the garage door was open. He and his girlfriend went to the neighbor's house. The neighbor, the roommate, and the roommate's girlfriend went into the home together. In Jeffrey's bedroom, they found him dead with a single bullet wound to the right temple. His blood alcohol level was .24, which was three times the legal limit for intoxication.
The authorities ruled it a suicide after speaking with his friends and acquaintances. They also stated that the forensic evidence proved that his death was a suicide. They had completed a gunshot residue, or GSR, test on Jeffrey's hands. The tests indicated that he had fired a gun by using his right hand. The coroner and the Naval Investigative Service also ruled his death a suicide.
Jeffrey's family, however, is convinced that he was actually murdered. His parents hired several independent experts and started their own investigation into his death. They reconstructed his childhood bedroom to look like the room where he died. Private investigator Ted Gunderson determined the trajectory of the bullet.
According to their investigation, Jeffrey would have had to lean sideways away from the bed in the process of shooting. Since he was left-handed, he also would have had to hold the gun upside down. Finally, if he had shot himself in that position, he would have fell forwards to the ground, not backwards onto the bed.
The Digmans also point out that Jeffrey was left-handed, but the powder burns were found on his right hand. They also note that blood was found trailing down from his ear; this suggests that he was upright for at least six seconds after the shooting. Small injuries on his body also suggest foul play. Blood smears on his sheets also seemed suspicious.
Ten months after his death, his parents requested that his body be exhumed and a second autopsy performed. The Naval Hospital in San Diego performed the second autopsy. They found two injuries on his body that were not mentioned in the original report. However, the new report stated that the injuries were insignificant and did not mean that he was murdered.
His parents believe that his death was related to his work with the San Diego Marine Drug Testing Unit. He had worked for them for several months in 1988. His mother remembered asking him about drug testing documents in his San Diego room. After his death, they could not find these documents.
Like many Marines, Jeffrey owned a "green book", a green hardcover book with blank pages that Marines use as their journal. His girlfriend Lucy was helping the Marines pack up his items when she noticed the book, with all of the pages in it. When his parents received the book, it was found to have pages ripped from it, furthering the speculation that he was murdered in order to be silenced.
A Navy investigator has determined the motive for death to be "inconclusive". Also, in the fall of 1991, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology reviewed the autopsy reports and changed the cause of death to "undetermined". The Digmans are still searching for the truth behind Jeffrey's death.
Suspects: No known suspects. His parents believe he was murdered because he had too much information about drug abuse in the Marine Corps. They believe that the drugs came from his other station in Puerto Rico, since it is a checkpoint for narcotics that get imported from South America to North America by way of the Caribbean. They believe that the killer(s) may have specifically been after drug testing documents that went missing from his room.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 27, 1991 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Sadly, Jeffrey's father William passed away in 2014 at the age of eighty-nine.
- Jeffrey Digman on Unsolved.com
- Marine's Shooting Grows Into Family's Anguished Obsession
- Marine's Death Consumes Parents
- Military Backtracks on Suicide Ruling
- Military says families don't want to accept the truth about their kin's deaths
- Deaths in Military: Beyond Disbelief
- Jeffrey Digman at Find a Grave