Young man labeled by Army as ‘deserter’ found dead, now being treated as homicide

A Spokane father is fighting to get his son the military funeral he’s earned. 

When Gregory Morales disappeared from a Texas base last August, the Army labeled him as a deserter. Just a few weeks ago, the 23-year-old’s remains were found in a shallow grave. 

His death, now ruled a homicide. 

Morales’ father wrote 4 News Now a letter, asking for help. He says instead of investigating his son’s disappearance, the Army disciplined him. 

“He’s the jokester, the cowboy. Grew up in Oklahoma,” said Donald Wedel. 

He says his son is not the type of person to go off the radar. 

“He was last seen, you know, driving around in Killeen, Texas,” said Wedel. 

That was last August, after four years of serving in Kuwait and Korea, Morales was about to be discharged. 

Days after his disappearance, the Army changed Morales’ status to AWOL, then called him a deserter on September 10. 

“If an M-16 goes missing in the service, they shut the base down and they search for that M-16. But a soldier goes missing, and he’s just missing,” said Wedel. 

Just a few weeks ago, Morales’ remains were found in a shallow grave outside the base in Killeen, Texas.  

“They still don’t know cause of death yet, it’s unknown,” said Wedel. 

All this time, Morales’ wife and two step kids have been denied death benefits and, due to his status as a deserter, Morales couldn’t be buried with military honors. 

Following an autopsy a few days ago, Morales’ death was ruled a homicide. His status, finally restored. 

Since March, five other soldiers have been shot to death off base. Morales’ mother says the Army isn’t doing enough to protect its own. 

Morales will be buried next to his uncle in a military cemetery, a spot his grandfather will also be laid to rest some day. 

Morales’ family have reached out to lawmakers. They want a congressional hearing on what’s happening to service men and women at Fort Hood.