In an unexpected development to the war crimes case of Major Matthew Golsteyn, a Special Forces officer accused of murdering a Taliban prisoner, the lead investigator has been accused of stolen valor.

In late January, Sergeant First Class Mark A. Delacruz was charged with fabricating his promotion files and other administrative records to indicate that he had earned the Purple Heart Medal, which is awarded to servicemen wounded in combat; the Combat Action Badge; the Air Assault Badge; and the Pathfinder Badge. Sergeant Delacruz is a special agent with the Army Criminal Investigation Command, which is responsible for investigating serious violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and felony crimes in the Army. Since the allegations came forward in late 2018, Sergeant Delacruz has been suspended from his position.

Major Golsteyn and his attorneys have used the indictment of Sergeant Delacruz to bypass the Article 32 hearing, the process in which the prosecution and defense present their cases to a judge, who then determines if the evidence merits a court-martial. The defense has now pressed the government to either drop the case or proceed to a court-martial.

As the lead investigator, Sergeant Delacruz had been responsible for interviewing key witnesses that led to Major Golsteyn being charged with murder. He was supposed to be one of the primary witnesses for the prosecution.