Body of Missing Fort Drum Soldier Found, Foul Play Suspected

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
December 21, 2020Updated: December 21, 2020

The body of a missing soldier from the Fort Drum military base in upstate New York has been found in a remote area of New Jersey, and foul play is suspected, the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Command said in a release Sunday.

Cpl. Hayden Allen Harris, 20, who was last heard from between 8 p.m. on Thursday and 6:30 a.m. on Friday in upstate New York, was meeting someone in Watertown “for some type of vehicle transaction” at the time of his disappearance, according to Army CID.

“According to law enforcement officials, foul play is suspected,” the statement said.

The vehicle that the 20-year-old was reportedly driving was located, officials said, noting that no further details of the ongoing investigation into his death will be released at this time.

Chris Grey, spokesman for Army CID, said that the command is working closely with several law enforcement agencies, including Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Sussex County Prosecutors Office, and the Bryan Township Police Department.

Harris, from Guys, Tennessee, joined the Army in March 2019 and was assigned to the C Troop, 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Drum.

According to a press release from Fort Drum, he was posthumously promoted to the rank of corporal. He was also awarded the Army Commendation Award, which is given to individuals who who perform qualifying service in the U.S. Army, including meritorious achievement, service or performance of duty, or an act of courage or heroism.

“We are devastated,” Brig. Gen. Brett Funck, acting senior commander, 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, said in a news release Sunday.

“It is well known here that Corporal Harris was a great soldier, and we share our grief with his friends and Family, I hear again and again how he was also—and most importantly—a really wonderful, caring person. His death is a tremendous loss for his loved ones, the division and our nation.”

“We are grateful to everyone who shared his picture or said a prayer for his safe return, and we ask that you continue to tell the story of this great soldier, and keep his family in your thoughts and prayers, as we will,” he added.

Anyone with information connected to the investigation into Harris’s death is urged to contact the Fort Drum Army CID Office at (315) 772-9459 or the Fort Drum Military Police at 315-772-7770. Anonymous tips can be submitted on the CID’s Crime Tips website.