The embattled Fort Hood Army base in Texas has grappled with at least 15 deaths this year in what been a series of mysterious disappearances and fatal incidents.
The base was determined earlier this month to have the highest number of soldier murders and sexual assault cases among all Army installments, prompting officials to vow to investigate the “root causes.”
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced the independent probe into the base’s climate, saying he hoped it would help them “better understand why this is happening in this installation.”
“We are getting an outside look to help us to get to those root causes and understanding so we can make those changes,” he said. “The point of emphasis being that we are going to put every resource and all of the energy we can in this entire institution behind fixing these problems.”
Here are some of the tragic deaths that have plagued the base in recent months:
Pvt. Eric Christopher Hogan and Pfc. Anthony Nevelle Peak Jr.
Hogan, 19, and Peak Jr., 21, were both killed in a crash just north of Georgetown on Feb. 1, CBS Austin reported.
The deadly collision occurred when, for unknown reasons, their car traveled off the left side of the roadway and struck another vehicle, authorities said.
Spc. Shelby Tyler Jones
Jones, 20, died March 1 after he was shot at a strip club in Killeen, several miles from the base, the Army Times reported.
No arrests have been made in the case.
Spc. Christopher Wayne Sawyer
Sawyer, 29, was found unresponsive at his post residence on March 5, Stars and Stripes reported. His death is under investigation but foul play is not suspected. No further details surrounding his death have been released.
Spc. Freddy Beningo Delacruz Jr.
Delacruz Jr. — a 23-year-old Army veteran — was one of three to be killed March 14 in shooting at an apartment complex in Killeen, Stars and Stripes reported. No further details have been released.
Michael Steven Wardrobe
Wardrobe, 20, who was a former Fort Hood soldier, was allegedly shot dead March 23 in a dispute with 22-year-old Spc. Jovino Jamel Roy, who was stationed at the base, news station KWKT reported. It is unclear what started the altercation.
Pvt. Gregory Morales
The skeletal remains of Morales, 24, were found June 21 in a field near the base in Killeen, about 10 months after he was last seen. An investigation is ongoing and authorities suspect foul play.
Pvt. Mejhor Morta
The body of Morta, 26, was discovered July 17 after he was believed to have drowned in Stillhouse Hollow Lake, about 15 miles from the base. An investigation is ongoing and officials did not say whether foul play was suspected.
Pfc. Vanessa Guillen
Guillen, 20, went missing April 22 in a parking lot at the base after her family said she complained of sexual harassment.
She was found dead July 1 in a shallow grave near Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles east of Fort Hood.
Guillen was believed to have been bludgeoned to death at the base by a fellow soldier, Spc. Aaron David Robinson, who later killed himself.
Spc. Aaron David Robinson
Robinson, 20, was identified as a suspect in the disappearance of Guillen — as an attorney for the victim’s family claimed he also attacked Guillen with a hammer and dismembered her body with a machete.
Robinson shot and killed himself in Killeen as officers moved in to arrest him Jun. 30.
Pfc. Brandon S. Rosecrans
Rosecrans, 27, was found dead from gunshot wounds May 18 on the side of the road in Harker Heights, Texas — three miles away from where his Jeep was discovered engulfed in flames.
He was allegedly gunned down by 28-year-old Brandon Michael Olivares, although no motive has been released.
Spc. Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas
Hernandezvargas, 24, was discovered dead Aug. 2 after he disappeared underwater while being pulled on an inner tube behind a motorboat at the same lake where Morta’s body was recovered.
Spc. Cole Jakob Aton
Aton, 22, died of his injuries Aug. 12 after he was hit by a car as he provided assistance at the scene of an accident in Killeen, the Military Times reported.
Sgt. Bradley Moore
Moore, a 36-year-old Texas Army National Guard soldier, died in a training accident while completing a land navigation course Aug. 13 at the base.
Sgt. Elder Fernandes
A body believed to be the missing 23-year-old soldier was discovered hanging from a tree Tuesday evening in Temple, about 30 miles from the base.
Fernandes, who had reported sexual abuse prior to his disappearance, was last seen Aug. 17 when a superior dropped him off at a home in Killeen.
An investigation is underway and police say foul play is not suspected.
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