1 Fort Drum Soldier Dead, Another Facing Charges

December 22, 2020Maggie BenZvi
fort drum soldier dead

One Fort Drum soldier is dead and another faces charges after police discovered a body in rural Sussex County, New Jersey.

Cpl. Hayden Allen Harris, 20, was reported missing on Friday. Sussex County assistant prosecutor Gregory Mueller told The New York Times that Harris had met with Pvt. Jamaal Mellish, 23, in Watertown, New York, “to discuss a disagreement about a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.” Mellish is now accused of abducting and killing Harris.

Firefighters were driving around town with a man dressed as Santa Claus and handing out candy canes when they noticed Harris’ personal belongings in the bloodstained snow of a cul-de-sac in Byram Township, New Jersey. Police then found Harris’ body in the nearby woods. They believe Mellish shot and killed Harris in those woods. 

There is currently no known connection between Mellish and anyone in Byram Township. According to the township’s police chief, Kenneth Burke, there was paperwork found at the scene that ties Mellish to the case.

fort drum soldier dead
Missing poster courtesy of

Harris was an infantryman in 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division. He had been stationed at Fort Drum since July 2019. He has posthumously been promoted to corporal and awarded the Army Commendation Medal.

Harris was described by Brig. Gen. Brett Funck, acting senior commander at Fort Drum, as “a great Soldier and […] a really wonderful, caring person.” He graduated from McNairy Central High School in Guys, Tennessee, in 2018.

Funck gave credit to Harris’ “excellent teammates” for their quick action in reporting him missing, resulting in law enforcement’s ability to apprehend Mellish quickly. Jefferson County sheriff’s officers arrested Mellish near Fort Drum, and he will be extradited to New Jersey to face murder and weapons charges that have not yet been handed down.

A third individual, a juvenile, was in the Silverado with Mellish and Harris. Sussex County prosecutors are not releasing the identity of this individual or how they were involved in the events.

Maggie BenZvi
Maggie BenZvi

Maggie BenZvi is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in human rights from Columbia University, and has worked for the ACLU as well as the International Rescue Committee. She has also completed a summer journalism program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In addition to her work at Coffee or Die, she’s a stay-at-home mom and, notably, does not drink coffee. Got a tip? Get in touch!

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Coffee Or Die Photo
From the Team Room to Team Room Design: An Operator’s Creative Journey

BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!

Coffee Or Die Photo
Get Your Viking On: The Exclusive 30 Sec Out BRCC Shirt Club Design

Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.

Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2024 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved