An Afghan woman, right, is interviewed as she sits next to the body of a child allegedly killed by a U.S. service member, in Panjwai, Kandahar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
Pentagon officials say military investigators have finally gotten their first look at the Afghan villages where Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly went on a shooting rampage and killed 17 civilians.
Two senior defense officials said Thursday that Army criminal investigators visited the villages early this week to collect forensic evidence.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of prohibitions against talking about the ongoing investigation into the March 11 killings.
Investigators stayed away from the shooting site for more than three weeks to avoid aggravating tensions with angered villagers.
It wasn't known how much or what kind of evidence they were able to find so long after the shootings.
Bales is charged with murder and is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.