Rep. James Hansen has been enlisted by a southern Utah woman trying to get the Navy to disclose all the facts surrounding the death of her son.

James Ball was found dead Oct. 1, 1991, in his barracks at a Washington state Navy installation. Naval investigators ruled the death a suicide, but the Marine's mother, Arlene Ball, is not convinced.Believing that Hansen, R-Utah, is destined to chair the House Armed Services Committee, she contacted the Republican lawmaker in an effort to get more details on the case.

"He's really pro-military, but I want him on that committee," Ball said. "I want him to come out with the truth."

Hansen is expected soon to announce which congressional committee he hopes to chair. In addition to Armed Services, the congressman also is considering chairmanship of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Pvt. 1st Class Ball was part of a unit of Marines assigned to security duty at the nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Wash.

His mother says her son was new to the base and had not received security clearance and therefore was not allowed to carry a firearm.

However, when James was found dead in the barracks bathroom by a roommate, a pistol belonging to a friend was on the floor with the safety on, according to Ball.

Ball contends that Naval investigators who declared the death a suicide botched the case by neglecting to perform fingerprint tests and gunpowder residue tests. She also said no suicide note was found.

"They have never been able to establish a motive for why he would kill himself or why anybody would want to kill him," she said. "I'm not saying that he couldn't have killed himself, I'm just saying they haven't proved anything. It's easier to blame the victim and say it was a suicide than to investigate and find a homicide."

Ball also says prints and negatives from a roll of film her son had sent to a one-hour photo shop the day before his death were missing from the package of his belongings turned over to her.

Hansen's legislative director, Steve Petersen, said the congressman was concerned about the case.

However, Petersen said Hansen will most likely work to strengthen military-death investigations rather than reinvestigate all disputed cases.

"He's reviewed the case file and has found in some places where the Naval investigators could have handled the case better," he said. "But he is not going to second-guess the outcome of the investigation."