Family convinced Longmont Marine's death not suicide
By John Spina
Riley Schultz's relatives cite his plans to visit next month as evidenceThe night before Riley Schultz, a 19-year old Marine from Longmont, was found shot at his post at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, he paid his credit card bill. The week before, he booked a plane ticket home in mid-April so he could visit his family before he was set to be deployed to South Africa.
Loveland residents and Immanuel Lutheran Church congregants line the street and wave American flags Thursday as a hearse carrying the body of Marine Lance Cpl. Riley Schultz arrives at the church in Loveland. While the Marine Corps has ruled Schultz's death a suicide, his family is convinced he did not take his own life because they said he had not shown any signs of distress. (Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald)
So when his family found out the Marine Corps determined his death was a suicide, they were dumbfounded.
"There's no way he committed suicide," Schultz's aunt, Danielle Spielman, said. "He had just told me that he was going to give me his motorcycle helmet when he came home so I could look out for it for him while he was deployed. He loved the Marines and the fact they ruled his death as a suicide when he showed no signs of distress makes me sick to my stomach."
The situation was even more exasperating because just three days earlier, the Marines had called Schultz's mom, Misty Schultz-McCoy, and told her their investigation found that his death was not a suicide, meaning he would receive full military honors, including a memorial service at Camp Pendleton.
The Secretary of the Navy even sent the family a certificate for a gold star saying, "In grateful memory of Lance Corporal Riley Alexander Schultz who died while in the service of our county as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps."
Nevertheless, on Wednesday, 12 days after his death, the Marine Corps switched its position, releasing a statement saying; "the lead medical examiner investigating the March 15 death of Lance Cpl. Riley Schultz, a Marine with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, has determined the cause of death as suicide."
Not only was the family heartbroken, but Schultz's death being classified a suicide means he will not receive an official memorial at Camp Pendleton and his family will not receive any military benefits.
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