Missing Fort Hood Soldier's Remains Are Found in Field, and Foul Play Is Suspected
The skeletal remains of Gregory Morales, 24, were found on Friday
An anonymous tip led authorities Friday to a wooded area in a residential Texas neighborhood where they found the skeletal remains of decorated Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales, who’d been missing for nearly a year.
Authorities say they suspect foul play, according to a statement from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
PV2 Morales, 24, of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, is the first of two soldiers who went missing from the base in a year. Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, went missing in April. Officials are still investigating her disappearance.
Morales was days away from being discharged when he vanished on August 19, 2019, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command says in the statement.
He was last seen driving his own car, a Kia Rodeo, in Killeen, just outside of Fort Hood, KCEN reports.
"He had called and asked for some gas money,” his mother, Kim Wedel said, KCEN reports. “He said he had bought a new car.”
When Morales failed to return to the base, he was classified as AWOL and then deserted.
On Friday, Killeen Police received a tip that Morales’ body was located in a field in the 3200 block of Florence Road in Killeen, just minutes from Fort Hood, KXXV reports.
Officers with the Killeen Police Department along with officials from the Fort Hood Criminal Investigation Division and a Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife K9 team searched the wooded area behind houses on Kings Court, a dead-end street, KCEN reports.
"The skeletal remains of a missing Soldier discovered Friday in Killeen, Texas have been positively identified as those of Private Gregory Morales," the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command confirmed early Sunday in the statement.
“Foul play is suspected at this point in the investigation,” the CID said.
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Morales was positively identified using dental records with the assistance of the U.S. Army Dental Corps, the statement says.
On Friday, Army officials contacted Wedel in Oklahoma and told her that her son's remains had been found, KBTX reports.
Morales’ mother is devastated but feels a sense of closure.
“I’m just glad he was found,” she said, KBTX reports.
"I just want to thank whoever came forward with the info,” Wedel said in a statement, KCEN reports. “We finally have closure and can clear his name.”
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and manner of death.
In the meantime, officials and soldiers at Fort Hood are mourning Morales’ loss.
“The First Team is saddened by the news of the passing of PV2 Gregory Morales,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Broadwater, commander, 1st Cavalry Division, KXXV reports. “His life was taken too soon, and we appreciate his service to our nation.”
Morales entered the Army in June 2015 as a motor transport operator and had been assigned to the 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division since November 2016, KXXV reports.
He received many decorations in his career including a National Defense Service Medal and a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
The Army is offering a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone with credible information concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Morales.
Anyone with information about Morales’ disappearance and death is asked to contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170. They can also anonymously submit information at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html.