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Third Fort Hood soldier found dead near Texas Army base within past month

Written by on July 22, 2020

Another soldier has been found dead near Fort Hood, the third body of a soldier to be discovered near the U.S. Army base in Texas within the past month.

Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, was found unresponsive July 17 in the vicinity of Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Fort Hood officials said on Tuesday. Stillhouse Hollow Lake is a reservoir located in Bell County and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Fort Worth District.

Officials have not said whether the death is considered suspicious. The Bell County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident.

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“The Black Knight family is truly heartbroken by the tragic loss of Private Mejhor Morta,” said Lt. Col. Neil Armstrong, commander of 1st Brigade 5th Cavalry. Regiment. “I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.”

Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, who was stationed at Fort Hood, was found unresponsive July 17 in the vicinity of Stillhouse Lake. (Fort Hood Press Center) 

Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, who was stationed at Fort Hood, was found unresponsive July 17 in the vicinity of Stillhouse Lake. (Fort Hood Press Center) 

Morta, of Pensacola, Fla., entered the Army in September 2019 as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle mechanic. Since May 2020, he had been assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, according to a statement released by the Fort Hood Press Center. His awards and decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

On June 19, officials discovered skeletal remains in a field in Killeen, just over 10 miles from Stillhouse Hollow Lake, which were identified two days later as the remains of 24-year-old Fort Hood soldier Gregory Wedel-Morales.

U.S. Army officials have said they suspect foul play in the death of Wedel-Morales, who had been missing since last August. Even though Wedel-Morales was scheduled to be discharged from the Army within days of his disappearance, his unit had declared him AWOL and then a deserter.

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Wedel-Morales’ was reinstated to active duty after the Killeen Police Department, which serves the town adjacent to Fort Hood, found new evidence suggesting he died before he was “dropped from rolls.” That meant he could be buried with military honors in his home state of Oklahoma.

A $25,000 reward is being offered for information about his case.

On June 30, U.S. Army officials found more human remains, which were later identified as 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, near the Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles east of Fort Hood. She had been missing since April.

There is no indication that the deaths of Morales and Guillen are connected, but both their families argue Fort Hood officials did not investigate the disappearances with enough empathy or urgency.

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Members of Congress joined advocates for women Tuesday to continue the call for changes in the way the military handles sexual abuse and harassment following the death of Guillen, whom investigators believe was bludgeoned to death and dismembered by a fellow soldier stationed at the same base.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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