After husband's tragic death, widow takes on PTSD

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm •  Published: May 14, 2014
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Amy Miner says her late husband's fight did not end when he left the war.

As with many veterans, Kryn Miner's battle against the emotional scars of a long military career was just beginning when he returned home to Essex Junction.

It ended last month when he was shot to death by one of their four children after he threatened to kill the family.

Since losing him, the 39-year-old widow has vowed to bring attention to the need for better treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

"The truth of the matter is if we can't take care of our veterans we shouldn't be sending them off to war," she said in a Monday interview with The Associated Press. "It doesn't make sense. Because they're coming back and this is the result and it's happening more and more."

A young Army veteran at age 44, Kryn Miner was a loving father and husband, a dedicated career soldier, the guy who would walk into a room and make immediate friends, his wife said.

But after 11 deployments in seven years, he became troubled. His behavior changed noticeably after he was thrown into a wall during a blast in Afghanistan in 2010, one of 19 blasts in his 25-year career, his widow said. Suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injury, he tried to take his own life in September, she said.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says about 15 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. The disorder is treatable and many soldiers diagnosed with it are successful and high functioning, according to Army Medical Command spokeswoman Maria Tolleson.

But PTSD also affects entire families dealing with a loved one who can become isolated, anxious or act out due to anger or depression.

Dr. Thomas Simpatico, director of the division of public psychiatry at the University of Vermont, said the more families know about the disorder the better.

"If your father is all of a sudden flying off of the handle or breaking dishes, or whatever, and it happens to be after you said something, one might make the wrong conclusion that his behavior is the result of your activity," he said.

Amy Miner said the last night of her husband's life got off to an amazing start. They attended a wedding in Vermont with two of their four children, dancing and celebrating with good friends.

But afterward things went wrong. Kryn Miner became verbally abusive toward his wife on the ride home and began to hit himself. Prosecutors say he threatened to kill his family, assaulted his wife, and then threw a loaded handgun to their teen child who came to her aid.