Veteran’s alleged role in murder/suicide raises questions about PTSDThe recent double homicide/suicide in Superior -- involving a veteran back from Iraq -- has the community asking if the tragedy could have been prevented.
By: Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The recent double homicide/suicide in Superior -- involving a veteran back from Iraq -- has the community asking if the tragedy could have been prevented.
Superior Police believe Matthew Magdzas killed his 26-year-old pregnant wife, their year-old daughter, and three family dogs.
Afghanistan War vet and Superior City Councilor Greg Mertzig says his community is stunned. He says he didn’t know Magdzas -- who served in Iraq in 2006 and 2007 -- but he is familiar with difficulties returning vets face.
“I know by being deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s a huge, hard adjustment,” says Mertzig. “When I got back from my deployment … I had some difficulties finding a job. I found myself a little disgruntled and upset with how things were going.”
Durbin Keeney counsels veterans in Duluth and Superior. He says about 45 percent of returning veterans seek help.
“So the services may be there, but getting the veterans to the water and making them drink when they need to is difficult sometimes,” he says.
Keeney served in Vietnam. He says today’s wars are different because the military is depending on the National Guard and Army Reserve. That means multiple deployments that increase the chance of things like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But he warns against stereotyping returning soldiers as having PTSD, because it casts “an aspersion” on them.
“We don’t need that and these families don’t need that,” he says. “This is a tragedy that happened between a young man and his family and now it’s a tragedy between these people and the whole community.”
Matthew Magdzas was a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard but was on a non-drilling status. Keeney says that means he was not able to carry out his duties.