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Authorities Announce Worst Fears in Case of Missing U.S. Army Soldier


Cpl. Hayden Harris

A missing U.S. Army stationed in New York state has been found dead in New Jersey, authorities announced on Sunday. Not only that, but another soldier has been taken into custody.

Corporal Hayden Harris, a 20-year-old who received a posthumous promotion from specialist, was “reportedly last heard” from between 8 p.m. on Thursday and 6:30 a.m. on Friday, said U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command in a statement. The missing soldier, who was stationed in Fort Drum, was meeting a person for what Army investigators called a “vehicle transaction.” They said his 2016 Ford Mustang Coupe was accounted for.

“We are working very closely with several law enforcement agencies, to include Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and Sussex County Prosecutors Office, and the Bryam Township Police Department on this investigation,” spokesman Chris Grey said. “We greatly appreciate their work on this ongoing case.”

Sussex County First Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Mueller said another soldier, 23-year-old Jamaal Mellish, was taken into custody, according to The New Jersey Herald. He described Mellish’s and Harris’s Watertown encounter as a “vehicle exchange” that escalated. Mellish “abducted” Harris in the now-dead corporal’s vehicle, which Mueller described as a 2017 white Chevrolet Silverado. A juvenile was said to be in the truck.

Mellish allegedly drove in the area of New York City and across the state lines into New Jersey. The prosecutor claimed Harris was killed in the township of Byram, NJ, where firefighters later found items including shoes and then blood.

No formal charges were immediately announced.

The Army says Harris is survived by his mother, father, and sister. Cops in his home state of Tennessee also took note of his death.

“We are sad to report that Hayden Harris has been found deceased, our thoughts and prayers are with Harris’s family and friends,” said the Selmer Police Department in a Facebook post. “Harris was just 20 years old and was a class of 2018 Graduate of McNairy Central Highschool and was a native of McNairy County.”

Army investigators ask that anyone with information step forward by calling Fort Drum Army CID Office at (315) 772-9459, the Fort Drum Military Police at (315) 772-7770, or their local police. People can also submit information anonymous online.

“People wishing to remain anonymous will be honored to the degree allowable under the law and the information will be held in the strictest confidence allowable,” they said.

[Image via U.S. Army]

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