KILLEEN, Texas -- More than two weeks after the family of Pvt. Gregory Morales called on the Army to allow their son to be buried with military honors, their wish has been granted.
Based "on trustworthy investigative updates," Fort Hood announced Wednesday that Morales' status has been changed from deserter/off the rolls to active duty.
Thanks to the status update, Morales is entitled to burial with full military honors and the Army will pay the costs, just like it would for any other soldier who died on active duty.
"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," said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Broadwater, commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division.
Morales' disappearance remains under investigation by the Killeen, Texas, Police Department.
Morales was reported missing from post on Aug. 20.
PREVIOUS STORY: Family of fallen Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales wants him buried with military honors
His mother, Kim Wedel, said he was set to start his discharge paperwork the following day.
"Greg had told me September 10 was his last day in the military, and he was going to come home and visit," Wedel said. "Then, he had plans to go enroll in a technical school in Galveston or Houston on how to work on big windmills. So, this was a guy who had plans, who wanted to use his GI bill to get this training. It made absolutely no sense for him to disappear."
Ten months later, law enforcement found remains about five miles from Fort Hood that they determined to be his.
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Killeen police suspect foul play in his death. Autopsy results were still pending.
Morales' remains were found in a field in Killeen a week before Vanessa Guillen's remains were found around 20 miles away after she had been missing for two months. There is no known tie between the two cases.
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Originally, his status was listed with the military as a deserter, which prevented him from a burial with military honors.
Fort Hood issued the following statement in regards to the incident:
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of PV2 Gregory Morales. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fellow troopers as they grieve his passing. The unit is fully cooperating with the local authorities who are leading the investigation. We cannot take further action on his status until an autopsy is complete and the cause of death and the time of death are determined. Unit leadership is in contact with his Family and providing support, as permitted by Army policy, during this difficult time. We will remain in contact with the Family and investigators throughout this process."
The video above is from previous reporting.
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