An Army soldier and a 16-year-old boy have been charged in the murder of Hayden Harris, a corporal at Fort Drum, New York who was found dead in New Jersey.
Jamaal Mellish, 23, and the unidentified teenager face felony murder, kidnapping and second-degree weapons charges, according to the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Jamaal Mellish was also charged with third-degree suppression of evidence.
Harris, 20, was found shot to death and buried under snow in a wooded area of Byram Township on Dec. 19. Shortly before his death, Harris had been reported missing. Firefighters discovered the body after they saw debris and blood along a roadway during an annual Santa ride.
“The top of the snow was stained with what appeared to be blood,” the police department said in a statement. “During a search of the disturbed area in the snow, the victim’s body was found approximately 200 yards into the wooded area mostly buried under snow.”
Investigators said that Mellish was supposed to exchange a Ford Mustang with Harris for a Chevy pickup truck. The two had had a previous transaction, police said. According to a Sussex County assistant prosecutor, authorities believe Mellish “abducted” Harris during the planned vehicle exchange.