The off-post death of a soldier assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, is being investigated by local law enforcement, Army officials said Tuesday.
Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, was found unresponsive on Friday in the vicinity of Stillhouse Lake, a reservoir that sits about 20 miles from the central Texas military installation.
The incident is currently under investigation by Bell County Sheriff’s Department. Bob Reinhard, a public information officer for the department, did not immediately return a request for comment. How Morta died was not released.
Morta, whose home of record was listed as Pensacola, Florida, joined the Army in September 2019. He served as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle mechanic.
In May, he was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
Morta’s battalion commander issued a statement Tuesday saying that the unit was heartbroken by the loss and offering condolences to Morta’s family.
“My thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time,” said Lt. Col. Neil Armstrong. “Private Morta was a great Trooper and this loss is felt by every member within our formation.”
Officials have not said whether foul play is suspected in Morta’s death. However, Fort Hood has been rocked by a string of deaths in recent months that law enforcement officers do believe involved foul play.
Spc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, was allegedly killed by a fellow soldier in an armory on post in April, before the other soldier dismembered her and buried the remains along the Leon River.
The remains of Pvt. Gregory Morales, 24, were also discovered several miles from Fort Hood in June after he was listed as a deserter for the previous 10 months.
Foul play is now suspected in Morales’ case, local police have said, but few clues about what happened to him have been released to the public.
A third Fort Hood soldier, Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans, 27, was found dead from a gunshot wound a dozen miles from post in mid-May. His 2016 Jeep Renegade was also found on fire near where he was killed.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.