Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 11, 2014

Death of area soldier ruled accidental

Niagara Gazette — U.S. Army investigators said on Tuesday that the death of a Western New York soldier over the weekend at a Texas military base where he was stationed appears to have been accidental. 

Specialist Ian Patrick Morgan, 28, who was found at the bottom of a stairwell near his Ft. Sam Houston barracks at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, was taken to the San Antonio Military Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.  

But with early indication showing blunt force trauma to Morgan's head and other injuries raised suspicions that the incident may have been a homicide. 

Special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command now believe, however, that Morgan's death was the result of "an accident fall" after he returned from a party he attended on Saturday. 

"The initial findings were that it was an accident, it wasn't a homicide," said Col. Scott Bleichwehl, director of public affairs for U.S. Army North, said Tuesday. "Those are the initial findings but the investigation continues." 

Those findings include "all available evidence to date," including the results of an autopsy, said Chris Grey, a spokesperson for the Army's investigative department, in a statement released on Tuesday.

"At this point in the investigation we do not suspect foul play and see no signs of foul play, although we have not completely ruled it out in order to conduct a complete and thorough investigation," Grey said. 

Morgan, who was assigned to the 56th Signal Brigade at Ft. Sam Houston, was a 2004 graduate of Kenmore East High School. Educators there remember him as polite and well-liked. 

Military officials said a final determination on Morgan's death will not be made "until a rigorous and detailed investigation is conducted and all physical and testimonial evidence is examined and all possible leads are exhausted, according to a statement. 

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