FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (WTVF) — A court martial is underway for a soldier who was charged with killing his pregnant wife. Panel selection could take several days. Opening statements are scheduled to begin on Sunday.
Meghan Santiago was rushed from Fort Campbell to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she died from blunt force trauma several years ago. They were able to save her baby at the hospital, and she donated her organs to save lives according to her family. They said Meghan had made plans with a family friend to escape her home, but she was killed before that day came.
Meghan's husband, Joseph Santiago, was charged with murder, assault, and bodily injury to their unborn child. He has pleaded not guilty.
NewsChannel 5 touched base with Meghan's family in Florida as they continue to grieve on Thursday.
“It’s really hard. I want justice for her kids and her mom, and I just… I hope this makes a change,” Emily Varcak said.
Meghan's cousins Emily and Kristen Varcak feel Meghan should have been better protected by the military.
“I feel like there was more that could have been done,” Varcak said.
A statement from MAJ Harold A. Tate, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Public Affairs Office said:
“The 5th SFG (A) command team has been in close contact with the family of Meghan since the incident and will continue to as they try to heal from the tragedy. 5th SFG (A) will continue to provide Meghan’s family with every resource at our disposal.”
The Varcak sisters hope Meghan’s story will help other military spouses who are thinking about leaving an abusive situation.
“Even though sometimes it does seem scary, sometimes you just need the strength and courage to get through, so nothing does turn into something horrific," Kristen Varcak said.
As for Meghan's children, they're in the state's care in Kentucky. The family said they're still fighting for custody.