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Hayden Harris

Fellow soldier and juvenile charged in death of missing Fort Drum soldier

New Jersey prosecutors have charged a soldier and a teen boy with murder and kidnapping in the death of Fort Drum soldier Cpl Hayden Harris, whose body was found shot to death in a remote area in the northern part of the state on December 19, WWNY reported.

Cpl Hayden Harris, 20, reportedly left the post and travelled to Glen Park, New York, to exchange a vehicle with the other soldier, prosecutors said, but something went wrong with the deal. Spc Jamaal Mellish, 23, and the 16-year-old boy then allegedly abducted Harris, drove him to Byram Township in New Jersey, and shot him to death.

CrimeOnline initially reported the arrest of Mellish shortly after Harris’s body was found. Mellish was arrested in Oneida County, New York, and is in military custody while awaiting extradition to New Jersey. The teen is in a juvenile facility, the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office said.

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Harris’s body was found by Byram Township police in a wooded area, covered in snow, WWNY said. Investigators said they tied Mellish to the case because they found paperwork with Mellish’s name on it at the scene where Harris’s body was dumped. The paperwork was reportedly a receipt for a different vehicle transfer between the two.

Harris, from Guys, Tennessee, graduated Air Assault School in 2019 and is survived by his parents and sister. He won several awards and decorations during his time in the military.

Mellish has been charged with murder, kidnapping, murder with kidnapping, possessing a handgun without a permit, using the handgun against a person, and suppression of evidence. The juvenile has been charged with murder, kidnapping, possessing a handgun without a permit, and using the handgun against a person, according to the prosecutor’s office.

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[Feature Photo: Cpl. Hayden Harris/U.S. Army]