The Fort Drum soldier who was pronounced missing after his disappearance on Thursday was found dead in a forested area.
20-year-old Cpl. Hayden Harris was a Fort Drum soldier who was reportedly abducted and shot by a fellow soldier over a pickup truck dispute.
According to the authorities, the young man left the military base on Thursday to attend a “vehicle transaction” in Watertown, New York.
On Saturday, the soldier was found dead in Byram County, New Jersey, some 270 miles from the spot where the exchange presumably took place.
After the soldier’s death by a gunshot wound, 23-year-old Jamaal Mellish, a fellow soldier, was arrested in connection to the murder.
According to the reports, Mellish was behind “some type of vehicle exchange” in New York where he allegedly met with Harris to discuss the pair’s dispute over a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.
As the prosecutors believe, the 23-year-old kidnapped his fellow soldier before driving from New York to New Jersey to commit the murder and get rid of Harris’ body.
As of this writing, it is unclear what made the encounter take a deadly turn.
New York Times also reported that another suspect, a juvenile, remains under investigation due to their presence in the pickup truck at the time of the incident.
“It is well known here that Corporal Harris was a great Soldier, and we share our grief with his friends and Family, I hear again and again how he was also – and most importantly – a really wonderful, caring person,” said Fort Drum Acting Commander, Brigadier Gen. Brett Funck, in a statement following Harris’ passing. “His death is a tremendous loss for his loved ones, this division and our nation.”
Funck also went on to applaud the soldier’s “excellent teammates” for their quick response.
“I’m proud of their quick action and hope they can find some comfort in knowing they ultimately helped law enforcement officers locate Cpl. Harris and greatly empowered the investigation into his disappearance,” the commander added.
Our thoughts are with Harris’ family and friends.
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