Congressman joins mother of dead Travis airman to fight for answers

Local News

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KTXL) — July 11 will mark one year since Travis Air Force Base Senior Airman Kayli Jefferson-Henkel was found dead in her Vacaville home. 

An investigation concluded that Jefferson-Henkel died by suicide, but her mother, Kim Jefferson, says the physical evidence makes her believe someone may have taken her daughter’s life. 

“She had a black eye, a broken neck, bruises on the outside of her knuckle, that tells me that she was fighting,” Jefferson told FOX40. 

Congressman John Garamendi now joins Jefferson’s pleas for more investigating. 

He penned a letter to the acting inspector general to look into the matter further. 

“And they will undoubtedly contact the family and say, ‘What are your concerns? Why does this not square with your understanding of your daughter?” said Garamendi. 

Last July, the Vacaville Police Department responded to Jefferson-Henkel’s home after a call from her. 

Lt. Mark Donaldson says its investigation showed evidence indicating she died by suicide, details that include a phone call she made to a suicide hotline moments before dying. 

“And while she was on the hotline she made some statements that she was considering ending her life while she was on the hotline with the call taker,” said Donaldson. “The call taker noted that she heard gasping for breath and that Kayli no longer responding to her comments.”

While her mom believes bruises to her daughter’s knuckles and eye indicate a struggle, possibly brought on by another person, Donaldson says those injuries were not present during the autopsy. 

For Jefferson, the evidence and explanations do not stop her from asking questions, and she won’t stop until she gets those answers. 

“My allegiance is to my daughter Kayli. I want answers. I don’t wanna be that parent 10 years from now fighting still for my daughter’s rights,” said Jefferson. 

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