Rep. Sylvia García (D-TX) has called on an independent investigation into Fort Hood and the murder of Guillén.
As the FBI continues to investigate the murder of 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén, now another service member has been found dead. On July 17, the body of Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, of Pensacola, Florida, was found unresponsive in the vicinity of Stillhouse Lake. The lake is approximately 15 miles from the Texas Army base, Fort Hood. The autopsy report has yet to be released.
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“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, commander of 1st Bn. 5th Cav. Regt 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.”
Morta is now the seventh service person stationed at Fort Hood to die since March:
- March 1: Spc. Shelby Jones, 20, was shot and killed at a club near Fort Hood.
- March 5: Spc. Christopher Sawyer, 29, was found unresponsive in his on-post residence.
- March 14: Spc. Freddy Delacruz Jr., 23, was among three victims found dead of gunshot wounds at an off-base apartment complex.
- April 22: Spc. Vanessa Guillén, 20, was killed in her unit’s arms room.
- May 18: Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans, 27 was found dead from a gunshot wound near his burning Jeep.
- June 19: Pvt. Gregory Morales, 24. His skeletal remains were found off base.
Democrat lawmakers, led by Rep. Sylvia García (D-TX), have called on an independent investigation into Fort Hood and the murder of Guillén.
“The United States military has a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of the young women and men that take an oath to defend our country. In SPC Guillen’s case, the U.S. Army failed both Vanessa and her family,” Rep. García said on July 7. “There are still many questions left unanswered surrounding her disappearance and about how Fort Hood conducted its investigations. Congress must act to guarantee this never happens again to another soldier. This is why my colleagues and I strongly support Rep. Speier and Sen. Gillibrand’s request for the DoD Inspector General to conduct a full, independent investigation into Fort Hood’s handling of SPC Vanessa Guillén’s case.
According to the Fort Hood Press Center, Morta enlisted last year in September as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle mechanic and was later assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, since May 2020. Morta had received several awards including the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.
On April 6, Morta posted on Facebook the following caption in a selfie image while wearing his army uniform. “I always envision myself that something great will happen to me. As long as I keep learning from my mistakes and failures from the other person, with curiosity is what drives me to keep going and maybe someday will make an impact on the world.”
Morta also extended his gratitude to his family, including his mom on Mother’s Day. On May 10, Morta wrote, “I’ve never seen the strongest person in my entire life even from the movies of a superhero, except my mom Morts Merla.” He added, “She raised us with my 4 siblings without a father. I remember when I was working in fast-food chain washing dishes and ended up quitting my job because I’m allergic to liquid soap. I was so frustrated and she noticed it; she said, “You have to work smarter not harder”. I will never forget those words and it changes the course of my life. Mom, Happy Mother’s day, and to all mothers out there, wishing you good health, and more blessings from God.”