A gay sailor who was found shot and burned was killed by a colleague who was still in the closet, his aunt has said.

August Provost, 29, of Houston, was found dead earlier this month at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. He had been shot and his body had been burned.

His family previously said he had spoken of being harassed by another person and noted that if the harassment was homophobic, he would not have been able to report it due to the ban on gay personnel serving openly in the military.

However, his aunt told Dallas Voice this week the family had new information suggesting Provost was killed by someone who feared being outed.

Rose Roy, the sister of Provost’s father, said she was “not at liberty” to identify the source of the information but said the family had been told Provost had an argument with the suspect a week before he was killed.

She added that the person who was in custody had a history of mental illness.

“This guy went the extra mile to make sure that my nephew would never be able to speak about his [the killer’s] sexuality,” Roy said. “My nephew died for reasons other than what the military is saying.”

Provost was found dead in the early hours of June 30th. He had been standing guard as a sentry. He was shot multiple times and his body was set alight.

US representative Bob Filner, a Democrat from San Diego, told the Dallas Voice that although it is not clear yet whether the military gay ban was linked to Provost’s death, the case eflected “the real tragicness and the emptiness” of the policy.

“The whole ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy is based around secrecy, and if you can’t be open and honest, and people can’t express opinions about it, repressed violence will have its day,” Mr Filner said.

“The abolition of that would prevent either this happening or certainly the questions around it and allow for a more respectful notification when something tragic happens.”

Last week, US representative Sheila Jackson Lee called for an inquest into the “bizarre” death of sailor August Provost.

“I am requesting a full investigation into the murder,” Ms Jackson Lee said. “This death appears bizarre, and more facts need to be uncovered.”