Authorities probe 3rd Fort Hood-linked death in a month

The body of Pvt. Mejhor Morta was found July 17, authorities said.

July 22, 2020, 8:25 PM

An investigation is underway into the death of a 26-year-old Fort Hood soldier found unresponsive in a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir, government and local officials said.

Pvt. Mejhor Morta was found July 17 after a fisherman called 911 to report seeing what he believed to be a body at the base of a dam, according to a statement from the Bell County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating.

Morta was not present for duty on the morning of July 16, prompting a search of the unit area, Fort Hood's public affairs office said in a statement. His unit also contacted his friends and family in their search efforts before Morta was ultimately found dead a few hours later, shortly after midnight on July 17, officials said.

He was not classified as AWOL at the time of his death, the office said.

Although the investigation is ongoing, preliminary autopsy results show that the cause of death is consistent with drowning, officials 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," Lt. Col. Neil Armstrong said in a statement. "My thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time. Private Morta was a great Trooper and this loss is felt by every member within our formation."

PHOTO: Pvt. Mejhor Morta is pictured here.
Pvt. Mejhor Morta is pictured here.
U.S. Army

Morta, whose home of record was listed in Pensacola, Florida, entered the Army in September 2019 as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle mechanic. Since May 2020, he had been assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Morta's death marks the third for the base in a month.

On June 19, skeletal remains were found near Fort Hood based on an anonymous tip and later identified as Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, who had been last seen Aug. 19.

On July 1, human remains were discovered near Fort Hood and subsequently identified as Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old missing soldier. A suspect in the case, 20-year-old Army specialist Aaron Robinson, died by suicide as officials moved in on him. Another suspect, Cecily Aguilar, 22, Robinson's girlfriend, is accused of helping him dispose of Guillen's body. She was charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence.

Aguilar is being held in jail without bond. She pleaded not guilty.

ABC News' Christina Carrega, Meredith Deliso, Luis Martinez, Stephanie Ramos and Alondra Valle contributed to this report.