Slain Fort Hood soldier declared AWOL after disappearance in 2019 will be reinstated
FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - Fort Hood Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, who was declared AWOL after disappearing in August 2019 and whose remains were found last month during a search of a wooded field, will be reinstated and is entitled to a military funeral and benefits, Fort Hood confirmed Wednesday.
“His status was administratively changed based on trustworthy investigative updates into his disappearance in coordination with investigators,” the post said in a press release Wednesday.
The change in status means Wedel-Morales, who was posthumously promoted to Pvt. Second Class, may now be buried with full military honors, the post said.
“While no words or gestures can make up for the loss of a family member, friend, or fellow soldier like Gregory Morales, we hope that this news will comfort his family and the friends he served with in this time of terrible grief,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Broadwater, commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division.
The soldier’s mother, Kim Wedel, told KWTX Tuesday night the Army told her it has some evidence that her son died before he was found to be AWOL, allowing for the reinstatement.
She said she was waiting for paperwork in order to move ahead with funeral plans.
“It’s a little bit of sunshine in all of the dark,” she said Tuesday night.
Morales disappeared without a trace on Aug. 19, 2019.
He was first declared AWOL and later was added to the Army’s deserters list.
His fate remained a mystery until skeletal remains were found on June 19 during a K-9 search of a wooded field in the 3200 block of Florence Road in Killeen.
Fort Hood’s Criminal Investigation Division contacted Killeen police in reference to a tip it received.
Investigators later determined the remains were Morales'.
His name was removed last week from deserters list.
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