Army soldier, 20, found shot to death in NJ, prosecutor says
A 20-year-old Army soldier reported missing from upstate New York has been found dead in Sussex County, and a fellow soldier has been accused of involvement in the death, according to authorities.
Cpl. Hayden Harris, who had been based at Fort Drum in NY, was last heard from alive between Thursday night around 8 p.m. and Friday morning around 6:30 a.m., according to U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
As first reported by NJ Herald,
Sussex County First Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Mueller confirmed to New Jersey 101.5 his earlier statement to the New Jersey Herald,that another soldier, 23-year-old Jamaal Mellish, was being accused of "abducting" Harris and eventually driving him into North Jersey.
NJ.com first reported that Harris was found shot to death in a wooded area of Byram Township, which Mueller also later confirmed to New Jersey 101.5.
Mueller said Mellish had been arrested in New York and was awaiting extradition to New Jersey.
As of Sunday night, there was no announcement of charges against Mellish.
Harris was last seen driving his red 2016 Ford Mustang coupe with Tennessee license plates and had plans to meet someone in Watertown, New York, for a "vehicle transaction," Army officials said on Sunday.
The same written statement also said Harris' Mustang was "accounted for" and that "foul play was suspected."
Harris was promoted posthumously from specialist to corporal, according to military officials, who noted they were investigating Harris' death alongside the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office and Byram Township Police, as well as the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in New York.
"We are grateful to everyone who shared his picture or said a prayer for his safe return, and we ask that you continue to tell the story of this great Soldier, and keep his Family in your thoughts and prayers, as we will," Brig. Gen. Brett Funck, acting senior commander of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum, said in a written statement.