Army recruiter in Germantown murder-suicide case was already under investigation -- Gazette.Net


This story was updated 5 p.m. Monday, April 15, 2013.

The U.S. Army recruiter believed to have fatally shot Rockville High School student Michelle Miller before killing himself last week already was under investigation for marrying a former recruit, an Army spokeswoman said.

Officials at the Gaithersburg Army recruiting center began investigating Staff Sgt. Adam Arndt in March after discovering he was married to Kaitlyn Amy Schum Arndt, who was recruited at the center, said Kathleen Welker, an Army spokeswoman. Recruiters are not allowed to have personal relationships with recruits.

Welker said Adam Arndt did not recruit Kaitlyn Arndt, but might have served as her Future Soldier leader — an advisor who works with recruits who had already signed contracts, preparing them for basic training and keeping them motivated.

Adam Arndt and Kaitlyn Arndt were married in June 2012, Welker said.

The local investigation now has been folded into an internal review of Arndt and the local Future Solider program currently being conducted by a colonel sent from the recruitment headquarters in Fort Knox, Ky., Welker said.

If Arndt’s relationship with his wife began after she became a soldier, there would have been no improper conduct because soldiers are allowed to marry, Welker said, adding that Kaitlyn Arndt entered basic training in November 2011 and is currently stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Montgomery County police found Adam Arndt, 31, and Miller, 17, dead in Arndt’s Germantown home April 8, and are investigating the incident as a murder-suicide in conjunction with the Army’s criminal investigation unit.

Miller’s relatives say she was planning to enter the U.S. Army Reserves after graduation, and had been training with Arndt, who helped recruit her. Arndt contacted Miller the evening of April 7, indicating that he was suicidal, and Miller went to his home to try to help, according to her aunt.

Police are seeking other young women and men who have had professional contact with Arndt as part of their investigation.

Montgomery County Public Schools is awaiting the outcome of the police investigation before commenting on military recruitment procedures, said Dana Tofig, a spokesman for the school system.

Adam Arndt would have been required to pass an extensive psychological and background screening to become a recruiter, Welker said. She couldn’t speak about Arndt’s case specifically, but provided a detailed account of the criteria and selection procedures for Army recruiters.

In order to become recruiters, soldiers must “have a mental evaluation not older than six months verifying that the soldier has no record of emotional or mental instability,” according to Army regulations.

Soldiers can not currently, or within the past 12 months, have been enrolled in a drug or alcohol dependency program and must have favorable civilian and military disciplinary records with no alcohol-related incidents within five years of being selected.

They also must have no history of domestic violence or assault, or any marital, emotional or major medical problems “that would hamper performance on recruiting duty,” according to regulations.

Potential recruiters also must be screened against the National Sex Offender Registry. Recruiters are forbidden from having any type of romantic, sexual or unofficial social contact with prospective or current recruits.

Those being recruited are not allowed to enter the homes of recruiters, and recruiters cannot meet with applicants who are of the opposite gender without another person present.

Recruiters also must complete an eight-week training course at Fort Jackson, S.C., Welker said.

Regulations do not call for recruiters to be re-evaluated on any fixed schedule, Welker said. Recruiters are under the daily supervision of their station commanders, who are responsible for monitoring their actions dealing with any aberrant behavior, she said.

Arndt took part in a mentoring program for students at Poolesville High School, according Tofig. Parental consent was given for the students to participate, and a counselor was always present when Arndt met with them, Tofig said.

Former Poolesville students have offered a mixed portrait of Arndt on Twitter, with some describing him as a great person who helped many students and others commenting that he would send them frequent messages over social media.

Rodrigo Valenzuela of Boyds joined the Army after graduating from Northwest High School in 2011 and told The Gazette that Arndt was his Future Soldier leader. He said Arndt was “very friendly” and that he’d planned to ask Arndt to serve as an employment reference.

“Anyone could talk to him,” Valenzuela said. “He’d be straightforward with anybody.”

Valenzuela, who is currently a student at Montgomery College, said he was in the same Future Soldier class as Kaitlyn Schum, but didn’t know her. He said he knew nothing about Ardnt’s personal life until hearing of Arndt’s engagement in mid-2012.