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A Fort Drum soldier and a teenage boy have been charged in the kidnapping and killing of a 20-year-old Army corporal found buried under snow in New Jersey earlier this month.
Pvt. Jamaal Mellish, 23, and the 16-year-old, who wasn’t publicly identified, were hit with first-degree murder, kidnapping and weapons charges in the death of Cpl. Hayden Harris, the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office said Monday.
Harris, of Guys, Tennessee, was reported missing from Fort Drum on Dec. 18.
A day later, firefighters in Byram Township, New Jersey, discovered his body in a wooded area after reportedly spotting blood and a pair of shoes.
The soldier had a gunshot wound to his head.
Authorities immediately arrested Mellish, of Brooklyn, who was being held in military custody in Oneida County, NY.
The teen suspect was being held in a juvenile detention facility, the prosecutor’s office said.
Known as “Opie” in his rural Tennessee hometown due to his red hair and infectious smile, Harris grew up dreaming of joining the Army, family friends have said.
He enlisted in March 2019 and had been stationed at the upstate New York base since that July.
A motive has not yet been released in the case, and the investigation is ongoing.
Prosecutors did not provide any additional information about the teen, or say how he knew the two soldiers.
With Post wires
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