Texas senator files bill to address deaths of Fort Hood soldiers

Texas Sen. John Cornyn Tuesday filed a bill that would require military installations such as...
Texas Sen. John Cornyn Tuesday filed a bill that would require military installations such as Fort Hood to review and improve procedures for reporting missing servicemembers. (File)(GRAYDC)
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 4:26 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (KWTX) – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Tuesday filed the Servicemember Safety and Security Act, which would require military installations such as Fort Hood to improve policies and procedures for reporting missing servicemembers and to improve information sharing with local and federal law enforcement agencies.

“As a parent and the son of a veteran, I feel a sense of duty to protect the dedicated servicemembers who sacrifice so much to protect us,” Cornyn said.

“The recent deaths of soldiers at Fort Hood have shaken us all, and my hope is that this bill will help us prevent similar tragedies in the future.”

Cornyn said the catalyst for the measure was the deaths of Fort Hood soldiers in including Sgt. Elder Fernandes and Spc. Vanessa Guillen.

Sgt. Elder Fernandes was one of at least six soldiers assigned to the post to who died of suicide in 2020. A preliminary autopsy report released in August 2020 ruled his death a suicide by hanging.

On June 30, 2020, contractors working on a fence along the Leon River discovered what appeared to be human remains that were later identified as those of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, who was last seen sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on April 22 in the parking lot of her 3rd Cavalry Regiment Engineer Squadron Headquarters. She was murdered by another soldier, court documents show.

On March 1, 2020, Shelby Jones was shot at a strip club in Killeen and died a short time later a convenience store on South Fort Hood St.

Freddy Beningo Delacruz, Jr. was shot repeatedly and killed March 18, 2020 Authorities found him, another man and a woman dead while responding to a call of a water leak at the Summerlyn Apartments on East Rancier Ave. in Killeen. U.S. marshals arrested Barnard Lnell Morrow, 21, five months later in Mississippi on August 28 on capital murder charges.

On May 18, 2020, the body of Pfc. Brandon Scott Rosecrans, 27, was was found along Fuller Lane in Harker Heights. He had been shot multiple times, perhaps while he was asleep in the passenger seat of his 2016 Jeep, which was found on fire nearly three miles away. Brandon Michael Olivares, 28, was arrested in his murder in August 2020.

During a K9 search while Guillen was still missing, the remains of Pvt. 2nd Class Gregory Wedel-Morales were found on June 19, 2020 in the 3200 block of Florence Road in Killeen. Officials suspect foul play, though no arrests have been made. Morales disappeared on August 19, 2019.

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