December 22 – A missing 20-year-old soldier in upstate New York was shot dead in New Jersey, and another soldier from an army base was arrested in connection with his death. Police believe that the suspect kidnapped the victim and killed him during the kidnapping.
On December 21, 20-year-old Corporal Hayden Harris was found dead of a gunshot wound in a forest in Byron, New Jersey. When the Byron Town Fire Department staff were on Ross Road, they found a pair of shoes, blood stains and documents, so they contacted the police. Police then found Harris’s body in the nearby woods.
According to the report, from late 17th to early 18th, Harris left Fort Drum for “vehicle trading” in Watertown, New York.
Prosecutors said that Harris and Jamal Melish, 23, met to discuss a 2017 Chevrolet pickup truck. Police believe that Merish kidnapped Harris and drove a pickup truck for 270 miles (about 435 kilometers) from Watertown to Bayram County, New Jersey.
Miller said that a minor in the car was also involved in the attack, and the case is still under investigation. Melish will be charged with murder, kidnapping and illegal possession of weapons, and then extradited to New Jersey.
Harris, who is reported to have hailed from Gase, Tennessee, joined the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum in July 2019 and served as an infantry member of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1 Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment. Prior to that, he trained in Fort Benning, Georgia.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) said at a press conference that it was working closely with several law enforcement agencies, including the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Byron Town Police Department, to investigate Harris’ death.
Anyone with information about this case should contact the CID on its own initiative.