Thursday, April 29, 2004

Schofield soldier
charged in murder

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. >> A Hawaii-based soldier serving in Afghanistan has been charged with murder in the 1991 death of a soldier whose remains were found last month under a shed in Fayetteville, police said yesterday.

Pfc. Harrison Victor Fitzwater Jr., 34, was scheduled to return yesterday to Fayetteville, said Fayetteville police spokesman Sgt. Alex Thompson. Fitzwater was stationed in Hawaii before leaving for Afghanistan, he said.

Fitzwater was part of a Schofield Barracks-based 25th Infantry unit that deployed to Afghanistan within the last two months, spokeswoman Pat Simoes confirmed. No other details, including his unit or how long he was based in Hawaii, were immediately available, she said.

A spokesman for the Army's Central Command U.S. headquarters in Tampa, Fla., said he was not aware of the arrest.

Fitzwater is accused of killing Sgt. Terry Lee Webb, 43, who vanished in July 1991. Webb's remains were found March 31 near a home where Fitzwater once lived.

Webb was stationed at Fort Bragg at the time. Fitzwater was living with relatives in Fayetteville and might not have been enlisted in the military at the time, Thompson said.

Webb's car was found behind a grocery store shortly after he disappeared, and his apartment was ransacked, although nothing was taken. The 19-year Army veteran was declared absent without leave, though his wife later had him declared legally dead.

The case was at a standstill until the fall of 2002, when a federal prisoner claimed to have information about a killing in July 1991. Police combed through old crime reports and found his story matched details of Webb's disappearance. That led them to the Fayetteville house where the remains were found.

Police tracked Fitzwater to Afghanistan through his relatives, Thompson said. Military authorities took him into custody shortly after police issued a warrant April 14 and told military officials they were looking for Fitzwater.

Fitzwater is also charged with breaking and entering, Thompson said. He declined to describe the circumstances of the suspected crimes.


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