“Former Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy and the five civilian members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee unveiled the results of a three-month examination of the command climate and culture at Fort Hood and the surrounding military community on Dec. 8, 2020.”
“The independent review, which was directed by former Secretary McCarthy, arose from the questions and concerns voiced by family members, Congress, and various Hispanic advocacy groups during the investigation into the disappearance and murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillén.”
“The committee examined the command climate and culture at Fort Hood and the surrounding military community to determine whether they reflect the Army’s commitment to safety, respect, inclusiveness, diversity, and freedom from sexual harassment.”
“Committee members Chris Swecker, Jonathan Harmon, Carrie Ricci, Queta Rodriguez and Jack White conducted a two-week fact-finding mission to the Texas base, meeting with unit leaders, Soldiers, members of the Guillén family, local officials, law enforcement and community groups.”
Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Scott Rosecrans, 27, of Kimberling City, Missouri, was found dead on the southern edge of Harker Heights, Texas on May 18, 2020. Brandon Rosecrans’ was a shooting victim and his body was found along Fuller Lane just north of the western end of Stillhouse Hollow Lake. His orange-colored 2016 Jeep Renegade was discovered on fire about four miles from his body. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Harker Heights Fire Marshal. Pfc. Rosecrans served as a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division since November 2018. Pfc. Rosecrans enlisted in the Army in May 2018.
Harker Heights, Texas, Police Chief Phillip Gadd reported that following a preliminary investigation, they’ve determined that Brandon Rosecrans died from a gunshot wound and that his death was being investigated as a murder. The murder and arson investigations are being run concurrently by the Harker Height’s police and fire departments and the U.S. Army CID. According to the Army CID, the Harker Heights Police Department is the lead investigative agency for Brandon Rosecrans’ death. Anyone with information, “no matter how insignificant it may seem,” is asked to come forward and contact Army CID, the military police or their local law enforcement agency.
“The Harker Heights Police Criminal Investigation Division is asking anyone with information about this murder to contact them at 254-953-5400. Individuals may also provide information to Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477) or go online at www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com. All information is confidential and anonymous and if your tip leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, you could be eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000 in cash.” -Harker Heights PD Press Release (May 19, 2020)
On August 5th, 2020, Brandon Olivares was charged with the murder of Brandon Rosecrans. Estrellia “Star” Falcon was charged with using Rosecran’s Jeep & hindering prosecution. See media updates and affidavit below.
In the News:
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans -KWKT FOX44 (May 20, 2020)
Digital First Video: Parents of Brandon Rosecrans -KOLR10 News (May 28, 2020)
Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans’ Funeral in Kimberling City
His vehicle was found on fire 15 mins after he was found about 4 miles away. Let help get brandon justice. His reward is only 1000 it needs upped. Also his service if you want to pay your respect and watch. -A thin line between Love and homicide (June 29, 2020)
Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans was found dead near his burning Jeep a short drive from the base, killed by a gunshot wound. Police and Army investigators are now investigating the death as a possible murder. -Military Times (July 1, 2020)
Brandon Michael Olivares was charged with the murder of Brandon Rosecrans and had a bond set at $1 million. -KCEN News (August 6, 2020)
A Killeen couple is in jail after Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans, a 27-year-old Fort Hood soldier, was murdered in May. KTBC FOX 7 Austin (August 19, 2020)
Fort Hood Press Center Press Release for Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans (Editor’s Note: Fort Hood will delete this press release, hence the reason it’s been preserved)
Harker Heights Police Department Press Release for Brandon Rosecrans
The skeletal remains of missing Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Scott Morales (Gregory Wedel-Morales) were discovered June 19, 2020 in a shallow grave in a field near the 3200 block of Florence Road in Killeen, Texas. Pvt. Wedel-Morales was last seen in Killeen on August 19, 2019 in his private vehicle (the vehicle was later recovered by authorities). Gregory was out-processing and due to be out of the Army within a couple days before he disappeared. The Army labeled him AWOL (Absent Without Leave), then deserter, and went about their business. Gregory’s family called attention to his disappearance and it wasn’t until Fort Hood Pfc. Vanessa Guillen disappeared that the Army started referring to Gregory as missing and offered a reward. After the Army CID offered a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone with credible information, they received an anonymous tip that led to the discovery of his body. Both Gregory and Vanessa were considered AWOL and it wasn’t until Vanessa’s family was able to garner nationwide support that the Army took either of the missing cases seriously. In the last year, Gregory and Vanessa were both labeled AWOL yet murdered and buried in shallow graves outside the base. Obviously, foul play is suspected and now the Army CID is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Gregory Wedel-Morales. Both the Army CID and the Killeen Police Department have jurisdiction as Gregory was found in Killeen.
“Foul play is suspected at this point in the investigation. Army special agents are working closely with the Killeen Police Department and are offering a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone with credible information concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Morales.”
“Persons with information can contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170. They can also anonymously submit information at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html. They can also contact their local police departments. People wishing to remain anonymous will be honored to the degree allowable under the law and the information will be held in the strictest confidence allowable.”
Click here for the remainder of the Fort Hood Press Center Press Release (be forewarned they will delete this history eventually)
In the case of Wedel-Morales, his unit called his mother, Kim Wedel, on Aug. 21 and asked her when was the last time she had talked to him because he didn’t show up for formation, she said. “Next thing they tell me, he’s AWOL,” Wedel said. “I filed a missing person report with the Killeen Police Department, but they said that since he was an adult, the best thing you can do is use social media to find him.” “My perception is nothing was going on until they (Fort Hood) were forced into it. I reached out (to CID) and said, ‘hey, this young lady deserves a reward, but what about my son?’ We had nothing until this reward came out and got a tip,” she said. “If we had done this to begin with, we may not have had to wait 10 months.” Because of his status as a deserter, Wedel said the family cannot even give him a proper military burial until an autopsy confirms he has been dead since he disappeared. Read more from Killeen Daily Heraldhere.
In the News:
Morales was last seen driving his car outside of Fort Hood in Killeen in the night of August 19, 2019. -KCEN News (June 15, 2020)
“He just ended up in a shallow grave in a field without anyone knowing where he was. They didn’t go out to look for him and that really stings,” Nick Wedel says. -KCEN News (June 21, 2020)
The family of Gregory Morales is petitioning for a change in Army policy after Morales was listed AWOL and then deserter before the remains of his body were found. -KCEN News (June 21, 2020)
Each time the family of former Fort Hood soldier, Pvt. Gregory Morales, gets news about his status with the military, it brings them more pain. -ABC13 Houston (July 2, 2020)
The latest: Major Martin became a “person of interest” to law enforcement officials in the Fort Campbell area after several bodies were discovered Nov. 19 at two different locations not far from his Pembroke, Ky., home. One of the bodies was that of Calvin Lee Phillips, 59, a man who lived across the street from the major and was set to testify during the aforementioned military trial. Following an emergency hearing Nov. 24, a military judge ordered the trial, set to begin Dec. 1, delayed indefinitely. -Bob McCarty (Nov. 30, 2015)
Screenshot of Christian Martin’s interview with News 4 Tennessee about the Pembroke murders (April 28, 2016). Click here for raw video.
Nov. 18, 2015: Calvin Phillips was found fatally shot in his home & the bodies of his wife Pamela Phillips & neighbor, Edward Dansereau, were found in Pam Phillips’ burned out car on Rosetown Road in Pembroke, Kentucky
April 28, 2016: Christian Martin interviewed with the local media about the Pembroke murders. He denied any involvement and was confident that he would not be accused of the crimes. He wanted to set the record straight.
May 13, 2016: Christian Martin was found guilty of two counts of mishandling of classified material & two counts of assault of a child; Martin was found not guilty on two charges of rape of a child & communicating a threat; Sentenced to three months in jail & discharged from the Army
July 11, 2018: Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear faces scrutiny for past campaign contributions; Beshear’s top deputy was accused of taking kick-backs and bribes for political donations; Republicans accused team Beshear of being corrupt; although it had been two years at the time of print, the money still had not been spent but Beshear vowed to donate any tainted contributions to Common Cause, a government watchdog group
May 10, 2019: Martin was indicted on three counts of murder; one count of arson; one count of attempted arson, burglary in the 1st degree & three counts of tampering with physical evidence; Authorities have not given a motive or said what led them to believe Martin was responsible
May 21, 2019: Attorney General Andy Beshear wins the Democratic primary for Kentucky governor
May 22, 2019: At arraignment, Christian Martin pleads not guilty; the State of Kentucky AG is holding him in jail with no bond and threatening the death penalty
“The Christian County Sherriff’s Department tells FOX 17 that both Major Martin and [Joan] Harmon are persons of interest in the triple murder that happened in Pembroke back in November. The department says it has interviewed Harmon twice about the murders and what she knows. However, the department refuses to say she’s a suspect.” –Fox 17 Nashville (May 11, 2016)
Fear Thy Neighbor – The Pembroke Murders Investigation -WSMV (June 25, 2019)
The Murder Of A Federal Witness : A News4 Special -WSMV (June 30, 2019)
In May when the Kentucky Attorney General arrested Christian “Kit” Martin for the murders of three people in Pembroke, Kentucky, he offered no clues on what new evidence led to the arrest. -Fox Nashville (July 26, 2019)
A love triangle and financial ruin: Who had the motive to murder in Pembroke? Part 2 -Fox Nashville (July 26, 2019)
Christian Richard Martin is facing several charges, in Christian County, Ky., including murder and arson. Martin moved from Kentucky to North Carolina after the murders, the Attorney General’s Office said. -WFMY News 2 (May 11, 2019)
On August 4, 2018, Army veteran Cleveland Jermaine Lewis, 33, was fatally shot in front of his house in a Killeen, Texas neighborhood. This is an unsolved homicide case and strikingly similar to the unsolved homicide of 19-year-old Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis. Pvt. Lewis was also fatally shot and killed in a Killeen, Texas neighborhood on April 17, 2017.
“Detectives are asking anyone who has information about this Murder, to contact Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477) or go online at http://www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com. You can also download the P3Tips App for IOS or Android and give an anonymous tip. All information is confidential and anonymous and if your tip leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, you could be eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000 in cash.” –Killeen PD Press Release (August 6, 2018)
“Death of LaVena Johnson. July 19, 2005. Balad, Iraq. Nineteen years of age and recently deployed to Iraq, LaVena Johnson had everything going for her. A great education, determination, goals, and a great family. In letters and calls to home, she seemed quite candid about conditions there, both the good and the bad, but was also looking forward to being home for Christmas. On July 19th, though, a grim discovery was made. LaVena was found in a contractor’s tent, dead from an apparent gunshot wound to her head. An aerosol can was used to burn printed emails from a recent boyfriend. The Army ruled her death a suicide. Upset over the recent breakup with her boyfriend she must have hit her breaking point. The first autopsy didn’t really find anything to question this as a suicide. The Johnson family had her exhumed and two additional autopsies would make some startling discoveries. LaVena Johnson had suffered a broken nose, loose teeth, a black eye, and chemical burns on her genitals just to name a few. The Johnson family never believed that LaVena would take her own life and despite the questions surrounding her death, no one seems to want to go beyond saying that this case is ‘inconclusive’. Join us for a difficult discussion of losing a loved one under mysterious circumstances, not getting answers from investigators, and the possible reasons for why LaVena Johnson died back in 2005 in Iraq.” –Death of LaVena Johnson, The Generation Why Podcast (November 19, 2017)
On June 16, 2017, Fort Hood published a press release indicating the Fort Hood Fire and Rescue teams were unsuccessful in locating Army Spc. Darius Cooper, who was swept away in flooding waters at Clear Creek near Turkey Run Road on Fort Hood just before 6 a.m. on April 11, 2017. The press release informed the public that the Army appointed a board of inquiry (per Army Regulation 638-8, Army Casualty Program, and Department of Defense Instruction 2310.05, Accounting for Missing Persons) to conduct a status determination and ruled that Spc. Cooper was deceased, his official date of death was April 11, 2017. Spc. Cooper, 40, listed San Antonio, Texas as his home of record and he entered active-duty service in June 2008 as a culinary specialist. At the time of his death, Spc. Cooper was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood in Texas since June 2016. Spc. Cooper deployed overseas in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. As of 2019, Spc. Cooper’s body has not been located, therefore he is still missing despite the status of determination ruling.
“More than 800 individuals were involved in the search, including emergency responders from Texas Task Force One boat and dog teams, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Texas Game Warden’s lake search teams, Morgan’s Point Resort Police Department dive and sonar search teams, Fort Hood’s Crisis Response Battalion ground search teams, and 1st Air Cavalry Brigade helicopter assets who aided in the search.” -Fort Hood Press Center (June 16, 2017)
Army Pvt. Matthew W. Brown, 20, of Zelienople, Pennsylvania, died May 11, 2008 in Asadabad, Afghanistan from injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident. Pvt. Brown was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Fires Brigade (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. At the time of the incident, the Department of Defense announced Pvt. Brown’s death was under investigation. On January 8, 2019, the family alleged Matthew was murdered in a Vanity Fair publication titled “Leave No Soldier Behind”: The Unsolved Mystery of the Soldier Who Died in the Watchtower.
“In the Valley of Elah” tells the story of a war veteran (Tommy Lee Jones), his wife (Susan Sarandon) and the search for their son, a soldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing, and the police detective (Charlize Theron) who helps in the investigation. -Warner Bros. (September 14, 2007)
“Your son is missing.” It’s the phone call every soldier’s father dreads. Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones) had never thought that this call would come whilst his son was in the U.S., home from serving in Baghdad. Facing military indifference to the disappearance, Hank takes matters into his own hands. -YouTube (March 20, 2014)
“In the Valley of Elah” tells the story of a war veteran (Tommy Lee Jones), his wife (Susan Sarandon) and the search for their son, a soldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing, and the police detective (Charlize Theron) who helps in the investigation. -YouTube Movies (April 12, 2011)
“Desperate to solve the mystery behind their son’s disappearance, his father, also a war Veteran, and mother seek the help of seasoned police detective to uncover his true fate.” –In the Valley of Elah, Warner Bros.