New York authorities have charged a Fort Drum soldier and a 16-year-old boy with the kidnapping and killing of a beloved 20-year-old corporal whose dream was to serve in the army.
Police said that Pvt. Jamaal Mellish, 23, and a juvenile are behind the gruesome murder of 20-year-old Hayden Harris who was stationed at the U.S Army base Fort Drum from July until his death on Dec. 18.
Harris, known as Opie in his native Guys, Tennessee due to his red hair and constant smile was reported missing that same day when his comrades and superiors failed to contact him after he left for a car dealership in New Jersey.
Authorities have launched an intensive search for Harris before his body was found in a pool of blood and covered in snow in a wooded area near Byram Township, New Jersey.
Firefighters said that they first spotted the soldier’s shoes and blood which helped them track down his buried remains. He appeared to have died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Investigators named fellow Fort Drum soldier Mellish immediately as the main suspect in Harris’ murder but did not specify the teenage suspect’s relationship to both soldiers.