Investigation Ends Into Absence Of Dead Ky. Soldier

Spc. Megan Lynn Touma, 23, whose body was found Saturday morning, June 21, 2008, in a Fayetteville, N.C., motel room. Police have ruled the death suspicious. A former commander says the pregnant soldier was excited to be mother. (AP PHOTO)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Army has finished its investigation into why a pregnant soldier found dead in a Fayetteville motel room wasn't reported absent after she missed roll call, but cannot release the results yet, a spokesman said Thursday.
Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum said commanders are reviewing the report and no release date has been determined.
The decomposing body of 23-year-old Spc. Megan Touma was found in the motel room's bathtub June 21. She last was seen alive June
13, the day after she reported to North Carolina's Fort Bragg from a base in Germany.
Officials investigated why she was wasn't reported absent
without leave after 24 hours, in accordance with Army regulations.
Sgt. Edgar Patino, the father of Touma's unborn baby, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder by Fayetteville police. Local authorities were handling the case because Touma's body was found off-post, but the military cooperated.
Touma, who was from Cold Spring, Ky., arrived at Fort Bragg's 19th Replacement Company on Thursday, June 12, at 2 a.m. and attended two required formations that day.
She had days off, then missed a required formation on Monday, June 16, but wasn't reported absent, the Army said.
The replacement company's processing of new soldiers lasts between five and eight days before they are assigned to a unit. Touma, a dental technician, was going to be assigned to a post dental clinic. A barracks room was provided for her, but she decided to pay for a hotel room instead, officials said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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