Fort Hood soldier's body found near lake, base's 3rd death in month

The body of a Fort Hood soldier was found by a lake near the military installation, officials announced Tuesday, marking the third time in a month that remains of a service member from the Texas base have been found.

Mejhor Morta “was found unresponsive July 17 in the vicinity of Stillhouse Lake,” officials said. The 26-year-old private from Pensacola, Florida, joined the Army in September 2019 as a mechanic, and had won three medals for his service.

Image: Pvt. Mejhor Morta Fort Hood
Image: Pvt. Mejhor Morta Fort Hood

U.S. Army

“The Black Knight family is truly heartbroken by the tragic loss of Private Mejhor Morta,” Lt. Col. Neil Armstrong, commander of the 1st Battalion 5th Cavalry Regiment, said. “I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.”

Armstrong said Morta was a “great troop” and that the entire formation is mourning his death.

Army officials provided no comment on the cause of death.

The Bell County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the incident, did not immediately return NBC News’ request for comment on Wednesday.

On July 1, human remains that were later identified as 20-year-old missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen were found about 20 miles east of the base. A suspect in that case, Fort Hood soldier Aaron Robinson, shot and killed himself as police moved in to arrest him. A woman that officials identified as Robinson's girlfriend was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of tampering with evidence.

On June 21, skeletal remains were found in a field in Killeen, just over 10 miles from Stillhouse Hollow Lake, which were subsequently identified as 24-year-old missing Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales. U.S. Army officials have said they suspect foul play in his death.

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