Fort Hood soldier back from West Africa found dead

A Fort Hood soldier who had just returned from West Africa was found dead Tuesday outside his off-post residence.

It wasn’t clear how the 24-year-old GI, who was not identified by name, had died but there were no outward signs that he took his own life or was a victim of violence, said Killeen police spokeswoman Carroll Smith.

Tyler Broadway, a Fort Hood spokesman, said he was not sure if his death was connected to the Ebola virus. A Killeen Police Department hazmat team was on the scene.

The soldier was among a group of 87 soldiers from the post who returned to Texas on Jan. 7 after spending time in West Africa on a mission to help contain the Ebola virus. The troops are isolation at North Fort Hood, but this soldier was allowed to visit with family under an emergency leave exception.

“At this point, there is no indication of the Ebola virus disease, but medical tests are underway to ensure there is no threat to the community.”

In mid-November, the Pentagon mobilized an additional 2,000 Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers to help combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The soldier, who returned to the states on Jan. 7, had been deployed to Liberia with the 36th Engineering Brigade to construct hospitals for Ebola patients, officials said. He was granted “emergency leave” to return to the U.S. because of a “family emergency” back in Texas.

A neighbor told KWTX that he saw the body at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Carrie Williams, director of media relations for Texas Department of State Health Services, told CBS News the soldier was in Liberia during deployment.

“We are aware of the situation. Testing will occur. The risk is considered to be very low,” Williams said.

Last November, Fort Hood was designated as one of five U.S. installations at which troops returning from deployments to West Africa to help in the fight against Ebola would be housed and isolated for 21 days.

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