‘Person of interest’ in pregnant soldier’s death

/ Source: The Associated Press

A soldier at Fort Bragg in North Carolina is a person of interest in the death of a pregnant servicewoman whose body was found in a motel bathtub a week ago, a military spokesman said Saturday.

The soldier is training at a school where special operations ranging from raids to reconstruction projects are taught, said Lt. Col. John Clearwater, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. The soldier is studying psychological operations.

"We understand and are aware that a soldier assigned to the command as a student for training is a person of interest. We are not aware of any charges," Clearwater said.

Telephone and e-mail messages left for a Fayetteville Police Department spokesman were not returned Saturday.

Police have called the death of Spc. Megan Lynn Touma, 23, suspicious. She was found after a maintenance supervisor smelled a foul odor coming from a room with a "Do Not Disturb" sign.

Touma, a dental specialist, was seven months pregnant and had recently arrived from a base in Germany. She was temporarily assigned to Fort Bragg's 19th Replacement Company before reporting to a dental clinic at the fort.

Police also are investigating a letter sent to a newspaper purported to be written by a person claiming responsibility for Touma's death. Brian Tolley, executive editor of The Fayetteville Observer, said the paper turned the letter over to police.

Fayetteville police Lt. David Sportsman told the newspaper that authorities think the letter was written to try to mislead investigators and the media.

In the letter, the author confesses to being a serial killer. The author also put a symbol at the bottom of the letter similar to one used by the Zodiac killer, who was blamed for at least five slayings in California in 1968 and 1969, but never caught.

"I will start using my role-model's signature," the author says in the letter, which was posted on the newspaper's Web site.