Third Fort Hood soldier's body found within a month, Vanessa Guillen's family doubt safety of 'dangerous' base

Third Fort Hood soldier's body found within a month, Vanessa Guillen's family  doubt safety of 'dangerous' base
Pvt. Mejhor Morta (L) and Vanessa Guillen (Fort Hood Press Center/US Army Forces Command)

The body of another Fort Hood soldier has reportedly been found, making it the third corpse linked to the Texas army base to be found within about a month. The soldier, identified as 26-year-old Pvt. Mejhor Morta of Pensacola, Florida, was found unresponsive on July 17 near Stillhouse Hollow Lake, which is around 15 miles from the Fort Hood base, US Army officials announced. The US Army Corps of Engineers' Fort Worth District manages Bell County, where the lake is located.

The news of Morta's demise comes days after 20-year-old Pfc. Vanessa Guillen's remains were found on June 30. Guillen's body was found a few days after search teams discovered 24-year-old mission soldier Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales' body on June 19. Reports state that foul play is suspected in both Guillen and Wedel-Morales' deaths. Shortly after officials announced Morta's death, Guillen's family lawyers released a statement suggesting soldiers were not not safe at Fort Hood. One of the lawyers, Natalie Khawam, said, "our soldiers are not safe living on this dangerous base."

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

Morta's demise is being probed by the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, which is reportedly waiting for preliminary results from an autopsy before releasing any more information on the incident. Officials have not yet revealed whether the young soldier's death is considered suspicious or not. Morta joined the Army as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle mechanic in September 2019.

The 26-year-old, since May 2020, had been assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, a statement from Fort Hood stated. Morta's awards and decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.

Guillen's family lawyer Khawam told The Statesman: "Unfortunately, this US soldier’s death is consistent with our concerns, that these soldiers are living on a dangerous base and are being threatened if they speak up. Enough is enough. We the people demand a congressional investigation. How many more soldiers need to die before Congress agrees to convene a congressional investigation?"

Guillen reportedly disappeared from the base in Killeen, Texas on April 22. The 20-year-old reportedly disappeared after telling her family that she was being sexually harassed by a superior sergeant at the base. The young soldier had reportedly left behind her car keys, identification card, and wallet. A massive search was launched after the news of her disappearance emerged on social media. Guillen's body was discovered two months later near the Leon River in Bell County, nearly 20 miles east of Fort Hood. The soldier had been dismembered, buried, and covered in concrete, according to reports. Officials believe that Guillen was killed by another enlisted soldier 20-year-old Aaron David Robinson, who fled Fort Hood after hearing of the remains' discovery. Robinson fatally shot himself shortly after police attempted to arrest him in Killeen, Texas.

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