Pentagon and Army officials are disputing claims from a member of former POW Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's unit and the mother of a fallen soldier that troops died looking for Bergdahl after he walked away from his post.
Berghdahl was released by his Taliban captors one week ago in exchange for five prisoners from Guantanamo. Since then charges have surfaced calling Bergdahl a deserter along with claims at least six soldiers died searching for him when he disappeared in Afghanistan in June 2009.
A military official told CNN there is no definitive finding Bergdhal deserted but an Army fact-finding investigation concluded he left his post deliberately. Army Secretary John McHugh promised this week a "comprehensive, coordinated" review would be conducted.
But Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl's platoon, told CNN men "were injured and killed in the search for him. The mission was to find Bergdahl."
Sondra Andrews, the mother of 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews, said she is convinced her son died searching for Bergdahl in September 2009.
She told CNN Saturday she thinks her son was part of a group "strictly on a mission looking for Bergdahl … based on (information from) the men that served with Darryn." She is asking the military to explain "why they lied to us" about what her son was doing.
"I'd like to see Bergdahl given an opportunity to tell his story, be on trial, have the witnesses come forward and tell their story and get the truth through that, and then I would like to see the full measure of the law followed for his punishment," Andrews told CNN.
In a separate report, CNN quoted a senior U.S. official as saying Bergdahl was physically abused during his five years of captivity. The official, who asked not to be identified, said Bergdahl attempted to escape but got caught and confined to a small cage or box.
Bergdahl currently is being treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. It was unclear when he would be transferred to the United States.
Meanwhile in Bergdahl's Idaho hometown, residents are reeling from the backlash, USA Today reported. A number of those shown on national media rejoicing over the news of Bergdahl's release last week found themselves the recipients of nasty calls and e-mails.
"The community here is shaken by the negative reaction, but remains undivided in its support for Bowe and his parents, (Bergdahl's parents) Bob and Jani," Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen said. "My main message is, people should not rush to judgment."