Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales Reported AWOL; Based on Anonymous Tip, Remains Found in Shallow Grave in Killeen 10 Months Later (August 19, 2019)

Gregory Wedel-Morales

Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, U.S. Army

Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying
at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

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.”

Read more here.

Pvt Gregory Wedel-Morales

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 Herald here.

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)

Related Links:
Reward Increased: Missing Fort Hood Soldier Pvt. Gregory Morales
Reward increased | Up to $25,000 to locate missing Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales
Army offers $25K for info leading to soldier who vanished days before discharge
Anonymous Tip Leads To Missing Fort Hood Soldier Gregory Morales’ Skeletal Remains
Remains identified as soldier stationed at Fort Hood, Texas
Confirmed | Skeletal remains found in Killeen identified as missing Fort Hood Soldier Gregory Morales, Army CID confirms
Army confirms body found near Fort Hood is missing soldier Gregory Morales
Army CID confirms skeletal remains discovered are those of Gregory Wedel-Morales
Missing Fort Hood Soldier’s Remains Are Found in Field, and Foul Play Is Suspected
Foul play suspected in death of Ft. Hood soldier Gregory Wedel Morales, Army says
Unidentified Remains Found in Same Area as Body of Fort Hood Soldier
Family of Fort Hood soldier whose remains found in Killeen wants military funeral
Mother of Gregory Morales pushing for change in deserter status of her son
Sapulpa family searching for answers after missing soldier’s remains found in Texas
Family of soldier found dead speaks out
Two soldiers missing for months from the same post
Friends describe Pvt. Gregory Morales as a ‘sweetheart,’ and ‘happy soul’
Remains found at 2nd location amid search for missing Fort Hood soldier
Soldier identified, reward offered for info
Family of deceased Fort Hood soldier hoping to have ‘deserter’ status changed
Family of fallen Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales wants him buried with military honors
Gregory Morales’ brother speaks about missing soldier case, body discovery
Gregory Morales’ brother speaks about missing soldier case, body discovery
Wedel family fights to clear Gregory Morales’ name in order to have military burial
Mothers of Fort Hood soldiers found dead want Army to change search protocols
Here is how a soldier becomes listed as ‘deserter’
Family of fallen Fort Hood soldier wants him buried with military honors
Two Fort Hood soldiers found dead – are their cases related?
Ep31: Missing From Fort Hood | Military Murder Podcast
Episode 37: UPDATE to Episode 31 – Vanessa Guillen & Gregory Morales | Military Murder Podcast

Navy CPO John Keith Bemis Found Dead in California Residence; Death Ruled Suicide But Totality of Evidence Suggests Homicide (August 7, 2012)

John Keith Bemis

CPO John Keith Bemis, U.S. Navy

Navy CPO John Keith Bemis, 30, was found fatally shot in his Spring Valley, California residence on August 7, 2012. Keith enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2000 and was an air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic assigned to the U.S.S. Independence docked in San Diego, California. Although the exact time of death is unknown, Keith was found dead on Tuesday morning, August 7th, by Navy co-workers and the Sheriff’s Department. Keith was found in his bedroom lying on his back in full uniform wearing a motorcycle helmet with a single intraoral gunshot wound. Keith’s death was quickly ruled a suicide but Keith’s parents, Tony and Sue Bemis, who never believed Keith died by suicide, want Keith’s death to be reopened and investigated as a homicide. They have conducted their own investigation and have determined the evidence simply doesn’t add up. Keith was a happy and healthy young man with a stellar military career; he was a suicide prevention advocate for the Navy; there were no medical or mental health issues or stressors noted in Keith’s naval medical records; and he did not leave a note. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (Lemon Grove) were tasked with investigating and documenting the incident and the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office conducted an autopsy. Photos were taken at the scene and at autopsy.

Tony and Sue Bemis elicited the help of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner (AFME) because they wanted a second autopsy conducted. Now both the San Diego County Medical Examiner and the AFME had ruled the cause of death suicide. After the family received a copy of the autopsy reports and photos, they began to notice upon closer examination that there were words like “gay” and “fag” written on Keith’s body. They found other oddities like numbers and words written on Keith’s body and on items in the bedroom where he was found. They found markings consistent with writing on the back of Keith’s neck. They observed two bullet holes in the ceiling; only one bullet was recovered. And were surprised by the damage caused to the motorcycle helmet where the bullet that killed their son apparently exited. They learned Keith was last seen on August 6 around 9 p.m. and suspect Keith was met with foul play shortly after returning home. Neighbors told the family he parked his truck in handicap parking (which he normally would not do) upon returning home. Neighbors also reported hearing a loud thud. After the family examined the evidence known to them (and to police), they found enough compelling evidence to warrant concern. Keith didn’t have any of the associated risk factors with suicide. But Keith did have a recent break up with a woman he had dated off and on for three years.

Keith met his ex-girlfriend in Tijuana and the relationship dynamics and reasons why they broke up are unknown. Those who interacted with Keith prior to his death did not observe any depression associated with the break-up. In the days following the break-up Keith celebrated an upcoming promotion on Sunday August 5, 2012; he spoke with family during a party at his condominium. He had recently purchased some new t-shirts and none of his electronic communications prior to the incident indicated any kind of unusual behavior. Unfortunately, Keith’s computer was of no use; the hard drive was wiped. Some mystery could have been alleviated with gun shot residue (GSR) testing of Keith’s hands but this testing was not conducted by either the San Diego County or Armed Forces medical examiners. The family tested Keith’s three guns for forensic evidence (including the gun allegedly used to take his own life) and no blood, blowback, or remains were found on any of Keith’s guns. The family wants homicide investigators to explore the various motives and theories because they know Keith didn’t die by his own hand. They can’t have peace until there is justice for their son. And none of us are safe if we turn the other way and ignore what quite possibly could be a homicide. Keith was concerned about a missing key to his place. Was a known offender able to gain access with the missing key? Nothing appeared to be stolen from Keith’s residence. Was it a personal crime?

If Keith’s death was a homicide, then a killer roams free. And because of this, we need to make death and missing persons investigations a priority. Every death investigation should be a homicide investigation initially until evidence proves otherwise. And we should always use gun shot residue testing to confirm suicide by gun. We should conduct a victimology, interview family and friends, and look at the totality of the evidence before making premature determinations that control the future of an investigation. The interviews, electronic records, and necessary forensic testing speak for the victim. We should take a look at all the possible theories. Some theories in this case include but are not limited to: ex-girlfriend angry Keith broke off with her, feels rejected, wants revenge; mistaken identity, intruder meant to target roommate; the missing house key was used to enter residence, intruder known; roommate was in Navy, maybe Keith suspected illegal activity and co-workers wanted him to remain silent; was this a national security incident or an act of terrorism? Tony and Sue Bemis created a website in Keith’s name. They are determined to find out what happened to their son because the evidence collected doesn’t support a suicide ruling. Take a look at the evidence for yourself and make your own determination. The more eyes on the case, the better. Please sign the petition, follow Death of Navy CPO John Keith Bemis on Facebook, and for tips, please contact Tony and Sue by e-mail.

Sources: Tony & Sue Bemis, Unsolved Mysteries, Attached Documents

The Official Unsolved Mysteries:

CPO John “Keith” Bemis’ death was declared a suicide in August 2012, but the evidence doesn’t add up and his parents need your help. -Unsolved Mysteries (February 27, 2015)

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Report (August 7, 2012):

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Report (Download PDF)

Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s Report (August 17, 2012):

Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s Report (Download PDF)

San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Report (September 28, 2012):

San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Report (Download PDF)

Able Legal Investigations Summary Report (January 12, 2014):

Able Legal Investigations Summary Report (Download PDF)

Ryan Forensic DNA Consulting Report (September 2, 2014):

Ryan Forensic DNA Consulting Report (Download PDF)

DNA Diagnostics Center Forensic Report (October 27, 2017):

DNA Diagnostics Center Forensic Report (Download PDF)

Related Links:
John Keith Bemis | Obituary
John Keith Bemis | Dignity Memorial
John Keith Bemis | Legacy.com
Together We Served – Keith Bemis, ENC
In Memoriam: Chief Petty Officer John Keith Bemis
CPO John Keith Bemis (website)
Death of Navy CPO John Keith Bemis (Facebook)
Reopen death investigation of CPO John Keith Bemis (petition)
Unanswered Questions in the Death of Keith Bemis
Family wants Navy to take another look at son’s death
CPO John Keith Bemis Dropbox Link
CPO Keith Bemis (Unsolved Mysteries)
CPO Keith Bemis – Unsolved Mysteries (website)
Keith Bemis | Unsolved Mysteries Wiki
Armed Forces Medical Examiner Office
Armed Forces Medical Examiner 3
San Diego Medical Examiner Office 1
San Diego County Medical Examiner 3
Lemon Grove Sheriff Department Reports
Reasons why we believe Keith was murdered
Decommissioned USS Independence arrives in Texas
What Causes Rigor Mortis?
What Are The 4 Postmortem Stages Of Death?
How Long Does It Take for Rigor Mortis to Set In?
6 weird things that happen after you die