Preliminary autopsy report suggests Fort Hood soldier drowned in lake, Bell County Sheriff’s Office says

Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, found unresponsive at base of dam

FILE - Fort Hood (CNN)

The death of a Fort Hood soldier — the third in the span of a month — is consistent with a drowning, according to a preliminary autopsy report.

The Bell County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday stated a full autopsy report has not been finished or released by the medical examiner’s office in Dallas, but a preliminary autopsy report suggests Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, drowned.

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Morta was found unresponsive just after midnight on July 17 in the vicinity of Stillhouse Hollow Lake Dam, U.S. Army officials said Tuesday.

Stillhouse Hollow Lake is a reservoir located in Bell County and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Fort Worth District, according to the Associated Press.

The sheriff’s office stated Morta’s death is still under investigation.

Morta, of Pensacola, Florida, entered the Army in September 2019 as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle mechanic, according to the AP. His awards and decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

His death is the third among soldiers amid a grim summer for Fort Hood, located in Killeen.

Lawmakers call for military changes after Vanessa Guillen’s death

The case of soldier Vanessa Guillen, 20, garnered national attention when she disappeared in April from Fort Hood. Her remains were found near the Leon River on July 1.

Investigators have said that Army Spc. Aaron Robinson, 20, of Calumet City, Illinois, killed Guillén with a hammer and had Cecily Aguilar help him dismember and dispose of the body. Robinson killed himself on July 1 as police closed in on him, and Aguilar faces three conspiracy charges.

Another Fort Hood soldier, 24-year-old Gregory Morales disappeared in August. Officials discovered his skeletal remains on June 21 in a field in Killeen.

There is no indication that the deaths of Morales and Guillen are connected. 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.

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About the Authors

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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