Real Name: Chad Wayne Langford
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Date: March 12, 1992
Details: Twenty-year-old Chad Langford was an SPC military police officer at the Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Alabama who was found near death outside of his police unit on March 12th, 1992. At around 7:40pm, Langford radioed to his dispatch that he required assistance due to a violent motorist who he had stopped to help that started to turn on him. When officers arrived to help they immediately came upon Langford's MP armband, portable radio and military id card arranged in the middle of the road full of unknown fingerprints that weren't Langford's own.
About a quarter mile down the road, an officer found Langford outside of his patrol car. Langford had the lanyard from his handgun wrapped around his ankles, handcuffs on his left wrist, the date "March 3" and the name "Robert" written on his hand, the unit's radar cable wrapped around his neck and his .45 caliber gun beneath his left shoulder. He was shot in the head and barely alive. Langford was rushed to Huntsville Hospital where he succumbed to his injury a few hours later.
The Army ruled his death a suicide which shocked and outraged his father who rejected the idea that Langford had killed himself. Chad had been raised by his father and grandmother in Elk Creek, California. He had joined the Army right out of high school. He was stationed in South Korea for several months. He later joined the military police at Redstone.
His father, Jim, claimed that in February 1992, Chad told him that he was doing undercover drug-related Army work and had received several death threats. He did not know where the threats were coming from. Jim told him to speak to his undercover superior. However, Chad claimed that he would not be able to speak with the superior for another fourteen days. Within less than fourteen days, he would end up dead.
The army reviewed Chad's case for four months and claimed that he was not involved in any undercover work but did have several psychological problems. He was apparently depressed and suicidal prior to his death. The army also claimed that his recent break-up was a motive he had to kill himself. However, his ex-girlfriend Roxanne claimed that he broke up with her. This would have meant that the break-up was his idea and he would have likely been happier after it. She said that he broke up with her because he was focused on his work and knew he could not dedicate enough time to spend with her.
Roxanne believed that someone had influenced Chad to break up with her in order to keep her safe and away from whatever unsafe doings Chad was connected to. She last saw him five days before his death at the base nightclub where he had apparently changed his lifestyle. He was dressed in black and was hanging out with rough looking people that she did not know.
Some believed that his change in behavior was related to a CID botched robbery that Chad took part in. He had apparently told the others involved that he planned to have someone shoot him while wearing a bullet proof vest. He also suggested killing potential witnesses. However, his family rejected the idea that Chad was involved. Jim stated they they thought other people had orchestrated the crime and wanted Chad to be involved in it but he refused.
Before his death, Chad called several of his friends (no family members) and said goodbye to them. Roxanne, however, does not believe that the message he left was actually a "goodbye" message. Langford's relatives believed that he would have called them to say goodbye if he had wanted to commit suicide. The psychological autopsy stated that Chad had low self-esteem and wanted to create a new image for himself, even if it meant suicide. The inquiry claims that Chad's death was based on methodical planning, including the story of a stranded vehicle, the different shots fired, and his suicide.
According to Chad's family, the evidence gathered from the scene did not match the suicide scenario. There were two .45 caliber shell casings found at the scene. However, there were no bullets found in and around the scene. Lab tests could not find evidence that he had handled a gun. For unknown reasons, fingerprints found on his radio and handcuffs were not checked. Also, they could not conclude how Chad ended up on top of his gun, or how two of his buttons ended up in his car if this was an apparent suicide.
Chad's family believed that he was at that part of the base to meet someone about his undercover work. They believed that at least two men whom Chad knew shot and killed him in order to silence him about his secret drug-related work.
Chad's death remains a mystery. His father holds a $25,000 reward for anyone with important information that brings this case to a close.
Suspects: Within a mile of where Chad was found, MPs stopped two men in two different cars at around the time that Chad died. Surprisingly, neither of the men's names were written down, nor were descriptions of the cars noted. Also, they were not questioned about Chad's death. An informant claimed that one of the men's names was Robert, the name found on Chad's hand.
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the February 24, 1993 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Chad was a SPC Officer, one of the four junior enlisted ranks in the U.S. Army, just above private first class and paid the same as a corporal. Unlike corporals, SPC officer's are not considered junior non-commissioned officers (NCOs).
Results: Unsolved. After the broadcast, the investigation into Chad's death was re-opened by the army. The results from the new investigation were never known and never made public.
- Chad Langford on Unsolved.com
- Families of Soldiers Want Suicide Cases Reopened
- 40 Suicide Rulings are Challenged
- Chad Langford at Find A Grave