Military wife Ariell Taylor-Brown always knew that her husband, Staff Sgt. Christopher Brown, might be killed in the line of duty.
What she never expected was to find out through Facebook.
Brown, a native of Columbus, Ohio, was killed April 3 in Afghanistan by an insurgent bomb. He had just begun his fourth tour one week before he was killed, according to CBS Denver.
When a tragedy like this occurs on the battlefield, military protocol is for the soldier's next of kin to be informed by messengers who come to the house.
Taylor-Brown, who has two kids with Brown and is 11 weeks pregnant with the couple's third child, didn't find out through those messengers.
"It was a girl in his platoon. She wrote to me and told me to call her immediately," Taylor-Brown told NBC4i.
Taylor-Brown, who was at her home with her children in Mobile, Ala., called the female soldier, who informed her of Brown's death.
"She told me over the phone, right in front of my kids, and I completely had a meltdown. She wasn't supposed to but I guess she took it on her own power to do it," she said.
Officials at Fort Carson, Colo., where Brown was stationed, investigated the breach of protocol and said a total of three soldiers were involved in spreading the information, according to the Republic in Columbus, Ind. Master Sgt. Craig Zentkovich told the paper that a soldier in Afghanistan sent a Facebook message to a soldier at Fort Carson, who passed it on to another soldier at the post, who passed it on to the widow.
Although it's standard procedure before deployment for soldiers to be instructed not to discuss deaths or injuries until after the Department of Defense has notified the soldier's family, Zentkovich couldn't say whether the soldiers involved had been briefed on the issue.
If commanders determine orders were broken there's a chance at least one of these soldiers could eventually face court martial, according to KKTV.CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story, Sgt. Brown's hometown was incorrectly identified. He was a native of Columbus, Ohio.