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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Fort Hood changes status of slain soldier Gregory Morales from deserter to active duty

The change in status now entitles him to a burial with full military honors, which the family has been calling for.

FORT HOOD, Texas — Fort Hood announced that Gregory Morales' status was changed to active duty, which now allows him to have a burial with full military honors. 

"At first it was just a sense of relief that, you know, the first battle had been won and we could do what we wanted to do as far as getting him home. Course then you start gearing up for the next round of battles about finding out what happened," Morales' mom, Kim Wedel, said. 

According to a release from Fort Hood, his status was changed based on "trustworthy investigative updates" into his disappearance with investigators.

When asked what investigation updates led to the change in status, the 1st Cavalry Division said they could not provide the exact information. The 1st Cavalry Division went on to say there is no timeline on when information on those details will be available as there is an ongoing investigation. 

The Killeen Police Department - the lead agency in the investigation - said they don't have any updates on the case and is actively being investigated. 

“The Killeen Police Department’s investigation of Gregory Morales case has not produced any new evidence at this time and has no bearing in his administrative status as stated in a release issued today by Fort Hood," Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble said in a statement to 6 News. "When appropriate, information will be released as it becomes available, and we will contact the Morales’ family directly if and when there are any new developments in Gregory’s case. Our focus is to find the individual(s) who did this hideous crime to Gregory. We continue to ask the community if they have any information pertaining to this case to contact the police department.”

The announcement of the status change came after Morales' mother confirmed to 6 News Wednesday her son was taken off the U.S. Army's deserter list. Morales' remains were found June 19 behind a Killeen neighborhood.

“While no words or gestures can make up for the loss of a family member, friend, or fellow soldier like Gregory Morales, we hope that this news will comfort his family and the friends he served with in this time of terrible grief,” Maj. Gen. Jeffery Broadwater, commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division, said in the release.

Morales was last seen alive August 19. After his disappearance, he was listed as AWOL and later as a deserter. 

His mother, Kim Wedel, sent 6 News a message Tuesday which said she received word that based on evidence the Army would be "reinstating him from deserter to active at the time of his death." She said she did not know what the evidence was. 

Morales' name was also no longer on the Army's list of most wanted fugitives.

Wedel was pushing to have his name removed from the list but her casualty officer said the autopsy needed to be completed first. It was unclear if the autopsy was actually finished.

The Army Criminal Investigation Division said they suspect foul play in Morales' death. They offered a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone with credible information about the circumstances surrounding his death.

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